Archant has reduced its proposed job cuts in Norfolk from 54 to 34 – but journalists say they will still fight the “huge number”.
This month, the company announced plans to cut 54 jobs from the 179-strong editorial team at the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and sister weeklies.
Today, staff were told the number of proposed redundancies had been reduced by 20.
The announcement follows protests from the National Union of Journalists chapel, readers and MPs.
A statement from the NUJ chapel said: “We clearly welcome the company’s apparent climbdown in its announcement today. That is a victory for common sense.
“It means jobs have been saved until the end of the year. It also means more of us will be trained on the new technology – though the NUJ and your staff reps will continue to press for everyone to get that training, including the group which is eventually made redundant, following this current process.
“But 34 is still a huge number. Let’s make no mistake about it. And the NUJ will be fighting it at every meeting, fighting for every job. That starts today, in the first meeting at 2.30pm.
“Today we have a long list of questions to take to management. We will be demanding far more detail to make sense of what the company is saying.
“We will be asking for guarantees beyond the end of the year. We will be asking to see the business structure which lies behind it, and which they owe it to us to reveal immediately, after all the confusion of the last week and a half, and the longer period of uncertainty stretching back to November.
“We will be telling them that 34 is still a massive cut in editorial staff. Taking out the news reporters, it represents around 25 per cent of the remaining editorial strength.
“It’s completely disproportionate in an industry which has seen an average cut in editorial strength closer to 10 per cent or 12 per cent over the last year – with, in the latest figure I’ve seen, 15.6 per cent editorial cuts over the last year reported last week by Johnston Press.
“We’ve had a phenomenal response from the community – now we need you to make a difference again. We want you – every one of you – to contact everyone you know, professionally or otherwise, who might have a view on this.”
Last week, Archant announced a £22.2m profit in the 12 months to December 2008, down 27.2 per cent from £30.5m in 2007.