Newsquest has announced a fresh round of redundancies at its Midlands South operation despite achieving a ‘massive surge in profits”, according to the NUJ.
The union noted that Newsquest Midlands South’s company accounts for the 2010 financial year show a 40 per cent rise in profit after tax to £5.2m, on 1.6 per cent fall in turnover to £23.7m.
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Two weeks ago managers at Newsquest Midlands South – publishers of the Worcester News and Kidderminster Shuttle – announced a restructure that would result in the loss of seven editorial jobs, according to the NUJ.
The accounts reveal that in the 2010 financial year the wage bill at this division of the company fell 6 per cent from £8.2m to £7.8m, with the total number of staff falling from 337 to 318.
‘In the latest proposals, as well as cutting editor, newsdesk, reporter and photographic roles, the company wants to create a sports subbing hub in Worcester that would affect the Stourbridge and Hereford operations,’the NUJ said.
‘Last year the company carried out the switch of news subbing at these centres against strong opposition from the NUJ chapel at Stourbridge in which members warned against the impact this would have on the newspapers’ quality.”
NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: ‘It is clear from the accounts that Newsquest is taking its staff for a ride by constantly telling them the business is suffering and cuts are needed – but failing to inform them that the huge profits are still rolling in.
‘The NUJ challenges managers at Newsquest Midlands South to properly demonstrate that more redundancies are a necessity for survival – and not just a ploy to keep chief executive Paul Davidson in the luxury to which he is accustomed on his £612,000 salary.
‘The company has many renowned titles here, some going back 320 years to the dawn of newspapers, and has a responsibility to their communities – not just shovelling money across the Atlantic to American shareholders of the parent group Gannett.
‘We believe that if Newsquest wants to be seen to be acting responsibly and for its Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy to be anything more than just hot air, it must listen to its own instructions. It must stop the sackings to give journalists enough of a break to produce the quality work needed to keep their titles in business for the long term.”
Press Gazette contacted Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson for a comment on this story. He was not available to speak to us.
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