Local World staff photographers facing switch to zero-hours freelance contracts

More than ten Local World photographers are facing losing their jobs, according to the National Union of Journalists.

Staff photographers on West Country titles are said to have been asked to accept zero-hours-style freelance contracts instead to carry on working for the publisher.

But the union has said that if they want to become "freelance consultants" with Local World, they will not receive redundancy payments.

Staff on papers including the Western Daily Press, Bath Chronicle, Gloucester Citizen and Echo and the Western Gazette in Yeovil are affected by the announcement.

It is part of Local World’s plan for a “freelance model” for photographic staff in Gloucestershire, Somerset, Bath and the Western Daily Press in Bristol, according to the NUJ.

The NUJ has called on Local World to keep staff photographers, but says it has not been allowed to accompany representatives into redundancy consultation.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

Long serving and committed photographers are being put in an impossible position by Local World. They have been told they face redundancy or must accept an inferior agreement for freelance work with no guarantees. This is despite the work still being needed. To top it off, staff have been denied access to union support in redundancy meetings. Like other regional newspaper groups Local World appears to have failed to grasp the importance of quality pictures to local journalism, including to the growth of digital and video content across the industry."

A Local World spokesman said: "Like other organisations, Local World continually reviews its operations, and where this has an impact on employees, full consultation always takes place, as is happening in this particular instance." 

Photo: Shutterstock

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