Journalists fear job cuts as Saudi firm relocates

Up to 100 journalists could lose their jobs following the relocation of HH Saudi Research and Marketing from London to Dubai.

The
move comes just a month after a dozen sacked journalists revealed they
were appealing via the NUJ against their redundancy terms.

The
workers, all originally from the Middle East, claim their contracts
guarantee 20 weeks salary for anyone with more than six years service.

Instead, they have been offered the legal minimum payouts of £280 per year of service.

The
company produces 18 titles out of its London office including daily
newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat and women’s magazine Hia. It confirmed this
week that most of the redundancies will be completed during May and
June.

Staff became suspicious in February when a planning
application notice was displayed outside their offices, Arab Press
House, seeking change of use to a school.

The company is owned by
Saudi royal Prince Faisal bin Salman, and NUJ General Secretary Jeremy
Dear recently wrote to the Saudi embassy in protest at the treatment of
journalists.

NUJ magazines organiser Mike Sherrington said: “The
12 journalists from Asharq Al-Awsat have already been cheated out of
their contractual redundancy terms.

“Those still employed by HH
Saudi Research and Marketing are now concerned that they will be
cheated out of their jobs and, like their colleagues, will have to
fight for what is rightfully theirs. The journalists at the company
have shown impressive solidarity and I feel confident that they will
win.”

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