Editorial redundancies at Archant Suffolk cut from 14 to 9

The number of proposed editorial redundancies at Archant Suffolk as a result of plans to scrap the Saturday edition of the Ipswich Evening Star has been cut from 14 to nine.

The news comes after the National Union of Journalists accused Archant of failing to engage in proper negotiations over redundancies and claimed morale was at ‘rock bottom”

The NUJ said management had refused to agree with a house agreement stating negotiations with the union should take place when redundancies occur, which had made a ‘bad situation much worse”

The NUJ also claimed the company had refused to recognise the chapel’s request to enter negotiations under formal Avoidance of Dispute procedures, after suggesting to the company that ‘it would have made more sense to lose two senior posts, rather than reporters’ jobs, but this has been ignored”.

NUJ Mother of Chapel Sarah Chambers: ‘We are being hit by yet another wave of redundancies. It is getting to the point where it is unsustainable.

‘The journalists here are doing their best to do a professional job, but the management is making it very difficult for us to provide a good service to our readers. We are particularly concerned that the Father of Chapel, Malcolm Grubb, has been targeted for redundancy.”

NUJ national organiser Fiona Swarbrick added: ‘The NUJ wants the best for the staff and the newspapers and that is why it is vital that Archant Suffolk management enters into proper negotiations with us about the business’s future.

‘If jobs are to go, the process must be fair. We are not satisfied with the selection criteria, however the management has refused our offers to negotiate or to go to ACAS, the arbitration service.

‘We feel as if we are banging our heads against a wall. This is not how industrial relations should be run.”

Archant Anglia managing editor Johnny Hustler said: ‘I am delighted to say that as a result of the consultation meetings held so far we are hopeful, subject to the conclusion of the individual consultations; the number of people leaving Archant as a result of this process will be significantly less (nine rather than 14).

Responding to claims the company had failed to engage in negotiations, Hustler responded: ‘The number of proposed redundancies is less than 20 and there is no obligation on Archant to consult collectively.

‘Not withstanding this we believe we have consulted appropriately with the NUJ and employees.’

Commenting on the bargaining procedure itself, he said: “I believe this specifically relates to annual reviews and I do not see its relevance to our current situation. I do not agree that we are in a formal dispute with the NUJ.’

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