As many as 85 jobs could be lost as a result of Trinity Mirror‘s proposal to turn the daily Birmingham Post into a weekly and switch evening title, the Birmingham Mail, into a morning paper.
Management at Trinity Mirror briefed staff in Birmingham and Coventry today that a consultation had been set in motion to review options for reducing the cost base of its business in the region and that further job losses were “inevitable”.
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Two specific areas for discussion during the review, the publisher said, would include the future publishing model of the Post and whether it should remain a daily title or change to a weekly publication.
The second would consider the option of printing the Mail overnight.
The National Union of Journalists condemned the proposed job losses and changes to the Post and Mail titles, saying it feared that up to 85 staff could lose their jobs on top of the 94 staff expected to leave as a result of it closing nine weekly papers in the region last month and the 70 job losses made after a large-scale revamp of newsrooms in Birmingham and Coventry last year.
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, attacked Trinity Mirror for failing to come clean about its plans, even after the union had put them in the public domain two months ago.
Dear said the union would fight to protect jobs, adding that he believed the publisher would look to save money by sacking van drivers and distribution staff in the region.
He added: “Without the ability to cover breaking news the Mail will lose a key selling point.
“When Michael Jackson died overnight the paper sold thousands of extra copies thanks to locally produced content.
“That sort of reaction to a breaking story is under threat from these proposals.
“If carried through today’s proposals constitute a major attack on journalists and journalism in the UK’s second biggest city.
“The NUJ will support our members in Birmingham in whatever action they decide to take to stand up for journalism.”
A spokesman for Trinity Mirror confirmed to Press Gazette this afternoon that it was anticipated between 60 and 85 staff could go following this latest review of the Midlands business.
The spokesman said the consultation process was at too early a stage to specify in which parts of the business jobs would be lost; however, he said it was likely that the majority of cuts would be centred in Birmingham.
Georgina Harvey, managing director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, said earlier today a series of difficult choices needed to be made at the company as it struggled against an extraordinarily severe economic situation.
Harvey said today: “I feel strongly that everyone involved in these businesses – staff and advertisers – are fully aware of these challenges and that we can have a genuine and open dialogue about all potential options that can help to return these businesses into profit.
“With this goal in mind we are actively seeking to achieve a timetable of consultation meetings with staff and union representatives.
“We have difficult choices to make but together we will ensure the future viability and survival of our great Midlands businesses.”