Brighton's 'rock' ponders next move after lay-off

A journalist who has worked for The Argus for 26 years is considering taking Newsquest to an industrial tribunal after it officially made him redundant from the Brighton paper.

Award-winning crime reporter Phil Mills is also appealing directly to the managing director, Martyn Willis.

Mills was called in by the human resources department for a meeting with editor Michael Beard on Monday, when the decision was finalised. He was given a list of vacancies, as required by law, which included sub-editor, reporter, copy taker or telesales (maternity leave).

Mills told Press Gazette: "I am personally shocked and saddened. It sends a very bad message out to the community that despite me being a Brighton born and bred man, having served 26 years on The Argus and having won the newspaper several awards, that the paper can tear it all up in one stroke.

"I have had fantastic support from all aspects of the community who are shocked, and many are disgusted by the decision. I've loved The Argus for 26 years and wish it well for the future."

Although Mills is not an NUJ member, the Argus chapel wrote to management to express disappointment and disapproval when it was announced his job was at risk on 11 May.

Mills is described by colleagues as one of the most respected journalists on the paper with "excellent contacts".

One insider said: "He was our rock. He will be sadly missed and was one of the biggest assets The Argus ever had. I think it's a huge mistake — he was everyone's mentor."

Argus managing director Martyn Willis declined to comment.

■ Deputy editor Pat Lewis has resigned for a post in public relations. Four reporters — Kate Morrison, Jenny Legg, Miriam Wells and Lucy Brinicombe — have also resigned from The Argus for new jobs this week.

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