The NUJ has passed a resolution raising concerns about how the sale of Trinity Mirror’s Midlands titles would affect its journalists following a reduction in staffing levels as part of an integration programme. The resolution stated: ‘Wave after wave of redundancies were demanded by Trinity Mirror on the basis that we were part of a wider group and therefore functions could be shared and synergies exploited.
‘That has left us with no independent printing operation, digital platform, cuttings and picture archive, IT support and software, payroll management and a host of other services.’The resolution has called on prospective buyers to ‘declare their intention to invest in the editorial heart of these newspaper and digital operations.’Trinity Mirror Midlands made £24 million profit in 2005 according to Companies House.
But the union has complained the business has been consistently neglected, with journalists using an ‘ageing’computer system. Post & Mail father of chapel Chris Morley voiced concern over staff pension schemes. He said: ‘Trinity Mirror pledged to put £4.5 million a year over the next 10 years into the MIN pension scheme it inherited when we became part of Trinity Mirror, as it has a funding deficit. Who is going to take that on?’Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson would not speak about the financial aspects of the company but admitted he saw the sale as a positive move.
He said: ‘We have a really resilient professional staff here in Birmingham and they understand Trinity Mirror’s reasons for selling it. ‘We know how complex our market place is. We have unique challenges in terms of social economics, ethnicity and overlapping competition, and that’s why TM is selling us and someone coming in will want that challenge. ‘We need to continue to produce great papers, improve our websites and to shine as brightly as possible. It’s business as usual. I’m proud to lead the Birmingham Mail. ‘We’re part of Trinity Mirror at the moment. There have been comments that it is in a terrible state but we are not only profitable, we’re meeting tough challenges in a large complex metropolitan city every day. I am positive about what is happening.”