Thursday 12 January 2012

Off with their eds! NUJ's revolutionary cuts plan

NUJ members at two Archant newspapers are calling for cuts to its team of editors as an alternative to proposals to reduce the rest of the editorial team by 14.

Archant Suffolk, which owns the Ipswich Evening Star and the East Anglian Daily Times, plans to change the Star from a six-day-a-week to a five-day-a-week operation, in order to cut costs. It also said that 14 editorial jobs will have to go.

Journalists are now arguing that as the editorial workforce of the two papers has been merged, so should the roles of the papers' two editors and two deputies.

NUJ members have suggested alternative proposals to management, that two of the editors’ jobs should go, and the remaining editors should work for both papers like the rest of the staff.

The NUJ Chapel claims this is the "lesser of two evils" and will have far less impact on the papers than the changes proposed by management.

In a statement it said: "Regrettably, we think merging the editors' posts is necessary, and is a viable alternative to what the company is proposing, which we think will be very damaging to both papers. We recognise the company has a difficult balancing act and we have welcomed its decision to try to keep the Star as close to a daily as possible. However, it has become a very top-heavy organisation and we believe that the current management structure is unsustainable given the costs of retaining it.

"This change is inevitable, and the current economic situation is unfortunately hastening the need for a brave decision by management to move to this point. If the papers need to become leaner, let's start at the top, not the bottom. We have already said we would accept the loss of three 'natural wastage posts' as long as it doesn't have an adverse impact on other staff's workloads, and that leaves 11 jobs at stake. Ultimately, it's 11 jobs versus two, and we believe those 11 are more vital to the future of the newspapers."

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