NUJ says PA plan to cut one in three TV listings jobs could prompt 'serious mistakes'

The National Union of Journalists has condemned Press Association plans to cut up to 27 jobs in Howden, East Yorkshire (pictured, Google).

The union said the figure – which is made up of 16 TV content roles, eight TV pages roles and three weather and finance positions – represents one in three editorial staff in this area of the agency.

The union's Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley questioned whether PA could retain its "quality of service" and described the news as a "savage blow" to staff.

According to the NUJ, the agency's initial announcement said the jobs were being cut because it was "producing more content than is required by our customers", who include national newspapers such as The Sun, Daily Mail, Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Radio Times.

It also said there was a "need to streamline our processes" and that individual content staff will be responsible for "checking and signing off their own content".

The union said PA claimed some quality control measures will be retained, and stated: “These changes will not have an impact our customers, who will continue to receive the same quality of service they have come to expect from us.”

But the union said the plans do not include "capacity to accommodate holidays, sickness or other absence, so staff would be required to work overtime to cope with demand".

"If the cuts are carried out in full, I would seriously doubt PA’s claims about the redundancies not having an impact on the quality of service," Morley said.

"PA’s reputation has been built on accuracy and attention to detail, but this plan would leave so much up to badly-stretched staff that the likelihood of serious mistakes must surely increase. Getting a TV time wrong will soon get picked up by readers."

He added: “Those who remain will be in an impossible position, trying to maintain the quality output that has been their professional hallmark for so long. Those who end up dismissed will find themselves out of work at a time when the jobs market within the media industry is on lean times.

“This once again shows that PA staff are not immune to finding themselves in the line of fire and that they would benefit from strong union representation in the workplace. We will be advising our members throughout the consultation process to try to achieve the best possible outcome for them.”

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