Thursday, 18 November 2010

NUJ fights job cuts at Johnston Press in Ireland

The NUJ has served notice on the Johnston Press Group in the Republic of Ireland in a dispute over threatened redundancies at a number of regional newspapers.

Industrial action will begin next Tuesday, November 23, with a one day stoppage by NUJ members at the Limerick Leader, the Leinster Leader, the Leinster Express, the Offaly Express and the Clonmel Nationalist in protest at job losses arising from a new ATEX editorial production system, which the union claims will undermine editorial quality.

Job cuts are proposed as a result of the new system, which Johnston Press management says will negate the need for sub editors. However the NUJ says journalists believe that the system will increase the workload on those left behind. Many of those targeted for redundancy have long service with their respective newspapers, acquired by the UK based company during their expansion into the Irish marker.

Nicola Coleman, NUJ Irishorganiser said: “This strike is about protecting employment but it is also about defending journalistic standards. The experience of this union in the UK is that the new system and reduced staffing levels have led to chaos – the results have been disastrous publications.

"Papers have been sent to print with pictures missing, wrong headlines and serious subbing errors. In one case, the barcode was not printed so shops could not sell that edition.

“Some titles in the UK had to re- employ some casual staff following the cuts when newsrooms could not cope with the workload. NUJ members in Ireland are determined to protect journalists and newspapers from a similar fate.”

The NUJ said it has asked the company to remove all threats to jobs until after the ATEX system is introduced when staffing levels can be assessed properly. Talks are scheduled to take place in Naas on Friday (November 19).
  • NUJ members at the Newsquest-owned Argus, Brighton, were taking strike action today over job cuts and a pay freeze.

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