Newsquest to axe journalism jobs in the North West

Newsquest has announced a fresh round of redundancies in the North West that has left journalists ‘stunned”, according to the NUJ.

The union said Newsquest plans to axe ‘swathes of jobs’in the North West including three out of 12 sub-editors, one in three reporters in the three offices affected – Warrington, Sale and Northwich – and one in six photographers.

The local NUJ chapel will hold an urgent meeting in response to the announcement, which affects papers including the Warrington Guardian, the Sale and Altrincham Messenger, and the Northwich Guardian.

Reporters who left the Warrington office earlier this year have not been replaced and the new round of cuts means the reporting pool has been halved in the space of six months, the NUJ claimed.

The union has also distributed Newsquest North West Ltd’s accounts for the 2010 financial year which show turnover fell 6.9 per cent from £40.6m to £37.8m and operating profit down 7.9 per cent on the previous year to £6.7m.

Staff costs were reduced by 8.1 per cent from £15.9m to £14.6m, though the number of editorial staff was only reduced by two, falling to 189.

NUJ northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said Newsquest’s announcement ‘stunned our members in Warrington, Sale and Northwich as it came unheralded”.

‘It is highly regrettable that the company did not seek to engage with our chapel. Newsquest’s North West business actually got off relatively lightly last year given the profit fall was less than 8 per cent and now the company has chosen to drop its devastating news on employees at the height of the holiday season when people affected by the decision are away for their annual break.”

Newsquest has begun a 30-day consultation on the proposals.

Morley is urging the company to extend the consultation period ‘to ensure no individual is placed at an unfair disadvantage”.

He added: ‘We will be working hard to ensure our members are protected from the worst effects of this plan and putting the company’s rationale under the microscope of scrutiny.”

Newsquest was unavailable for comment.

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