Senior staff on hit list as Trinity cost cuts kick in

SenSenior ?gures from Trinity Mirror’s regional newspaper division are among the 550 redundancies announced as part of chief executive Sly Bailey’s strategic review of the company.

The measures are part of a major restructuring exercise aimed at saving £25m a year by 2005. The company’s regional titles in Northern Ireland will also be sold under the new plan.

A consultation period on 18 redundancies already announced at the regional division head of?ces in Liverpool and London ended this week.

Company insiders said they were shocked by the seniority of the people involved.

The employees concerned are believed to be involved in departments such as marketing, communications, strategy and distribution rather than editorial – although some are said to be former senior editors of big regional titles published by Trinity and other groups.

A further 28 jobs, all editorial, are to go with the scrapping of the Daily Mirror’s Saturday magazine supplements, The Look and M magazine. Both magazines will go out for the last time on 9 August.

Even senior journalists on the Mirror said they had no idea what form the replacement magazine would take.

But according to some sources, a dummy issue is being prepared in secret by an editorial team that includes former IPC employees.

Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey was formerly in charge at IPC.

Bailey’s keenly anticipated strategic review of the entire company was revealed on Thursday this week. Costs would be reduced “significantly” across the business, she said.

Last week, Press Gazette reported redundancies at Merseymart Group and plans to close the library and copytaking departments of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

There was surprise among staff when the decision to scrap M magazine – shortlisted in this year’s British Press Awards as supplement of the year, and winner of that category in 2000 – emerged last week.

The replacement magazine is expected to combine the listings content of The Look with more celebrity-based stories in the style of Heat and Hello! magazines.

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “We are committed to providing the best possible value for our readers and advertisers and have concluded that there are better ways of using the resources currently invested in producing M magazine. Put simply, M Magazine does not deliver an adequate return on our investment.

“The publishing process is about revitalising the business on an ongoing basis and the decision to close M Magazine and The Look forms part of a much bigger picture for the Mirror going forward.

“Nineteen jobs are affected on M Magazine and nine on The Look. Where possible, we will seek to offer alternative employment within the business.

“A month’s consultation with staff, both individually and with the British Association of Journalists, begins immediately. M Celebs will continue to form an integral part of the Sunday Mirror package. Newsprint sections M on Tuesday and M Health are also unaffected.”

BAJ general secretary Steve Turner said: “We are in discussions with the company and doing everything possible to reduce the number of redundancies.”

 

By Dominic Ponsford

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