News International off-shores listings to India

Up to 30 journalists have been made redundant in News International’s TV listings department after much of the work was moved to India.

The division was outsourced to Press Association, which is having the work done in Mangalore.

It is the first British newspaper department involving journalists to be off-shored, according to NUJ national organiser Barry Fitzpatrick. At least half of the staff losing their jobs are NUJ members.

According to News International, the majority of the work will be undertaken in PA’s Howden office in Yorkshire and a ‘minority of pre-press work will be carried out at PA’s offices in India”, including layout and formatting.

The redundancy process began in June and is due to end within the next two or three weeks.

Last December London-based newswire Thomson Financial hired English-speaking journalists in Mumbai to work ‘UK shifts’writing financial news. Trinity Mirror has outsourced the library service at its national titles to Delhi.

Fitzpatrick said: ‘I think it’s very worrying that editorial is being off-shored. If price is the criteria then I would imagine all the newspapers are looking at it. In some cases at News International we have enhanced the terms but there are two cases that may go to tribunal.

‘You are not going to have the reliability or connection with the editorial servicing that the papers require. Even on TV listings there is a tendency to be fully conversant with the local situation and that won’t happen in India.”

Fitzpatrick stressed that many outsourced operations have inferior terms and conditions to any European equivalent and are not unionised.

Press Association editor-in-chief Tony Watson said: ‘PA Group has signed an agreement with News International to provide page-ready TV listings pages for the company’s national newspaper titles. Elements of the work will be carried out at the group’s page production centres in Howden and India.

‘The Indian production centres provide TV listings, page-ready editorial services, weather panels, sports fixtures and results, games and crosswords and archived picture captioning.”

PA has two production centres in India, one in Mangalore and another in Pune. All operations are overseen by senior PA executives who have relocated to India. 

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