Johnston Press has unveiled plans to create a new subbing ‘hub’to handle the production of all its papers in the south of England – raising fears of job cuts and mammoth commutes for existing employees.
The regional publishing group said today it proposed to create a divisional production centre in Horsham, West Sussex, for around 40 weekly and daily papers it produces across the south coast – including Portsmouth’s The News, the Hastings Observer and the Worthing Herald.
The new centre will come under the control of Johnston Press’s Sussex Newspapers division, and could result in a daily two-and-a-half hour, 100-mile round trip for those staff in Portsmouth wishing to transfer to work in Horsham.
It’s not yet known how many jobs could be at risk as a result of Johnston Press’s proposals.
The company said in a statement: ‘Prior to implementation of the proposed transfer of work we will consult extensively on an individual and collective basis.
‘In the event the proposal goes ahead, the company will endeavour to minimise its impact through voluntary severance and redeployment to alternative positions within the company and the group.”
Journalists working on Johnston Press’s Sheffield Star newspaper voted for strike action earlier this week over proposed job cuts resulting from their employer’s decision to cut almost half the staff from its regional hub.
The Sheffield subbing hub was only created nine months ago to take on production duties for Johnston Press papers in the North East and Yorkshire.