28 jobs to go as new TES publisher tightens its belt

Journalists on the Times Educational Supplement have condemned proposals by TSL Education to sack 28 out of the 86 editorial staff.

The publisher has begun its consultation over the proposals, after acquiring the title from News International for £230m in October 2005.

A spokesman for the company’s NUJ chapel —which has official recognition —said: “We regard their proposals as ill thought-out, muddled and based on greed.” However, TES director of corporate affairs, Lesley Smith, said that extensive research had found that the TES was too complicated a product.

She said this had prompted the decisions to replace the two regular magazine supplements with just one, and to scrap the 30 other various supplements that are published during the year, which were previously supported by advertising, but are now said to be losing money.

It is understood that the job cuts will be achieved by creating a new centralised subbing department, comprising 11 full-time and one part-time member of staff.

Cutbacks will also fall on the picture desk and design department, with savings expected to be made through more use of design templates.

Smith said: “We are not asking journalists to do any more — productivity will be about the same.” TES management say the company is spending £5m on relaunching the paper in full colour in September with the new 64-page glossy magazine.

A spokesman for the TES NUJ chapel said: “Every section of the TES is absolutely furious about the way that this has been done and has no faith in the plans whatsoever — it seems to be nothing more than a massive costcutting excercise at a time when the company is still making massive profits.

“It feels a bit like they just want to wipe out the past.” The TES has seen sales decline from more than 100,000 four years ago to an annual ABC figure of 87,473 in 2005.

Chief executive of TSL Education, Bernard Gray, said: “Although the product has evolved over time in response to reader requirements, there has been little deep analysis of readers’ needs for some time. Over the past few months, TES has conducted detailed research into teachers’ views on our product, what they like and don’t like, and where else they go for news, information and advice.

“That gave us a very clear understanding of what teachers and educationalists wanted from their weekly newspaper.”

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