The ongoing industrial dispute at Johnston Press could be set to deepen after news that 20 subbing jobs are to go at the Gazette in Blackpool and the Lancashire Evening Post following the creation of a centralised “content design unit” in Preston.
The changes are associated with the introduction of the Atex content management – which will see reporters putting their stories straight into page designs.
HTFP quotes North West managing director Margaret Hilton saying that the new unit “would be responsible for the design and delivery of all bespoke pages for all titles in Preston, Wigan, Burnley, Blackpool, Lancaster and Morecambe”. She added that “some news desk areas across the division will be strengthened”.
NUJ members across Johnston Press are in the midst of preparing for a group-wide strike ballot – the first such move in British journalism for at least 20 years. They are concerned about changes to subbing operations, the introduction of Atex and overall staffing levels.
Journalists in Blackpool are already taking industrial action in protest against lack of consultation around the introduction of the Atex system.