Strike action threat as job cuts hit 100

By Sarah Lagan and Hamish Mackay

Journalists at the Western Mail & Echo, and on the Daily Record
and Sunday Mail have voted unanimously to ballot for strike action
after Trinity Mirror announced more than 100 job cuts across the
country.

They include six in Liverpool, two in Huddersfield and one in north Wales.

Trinity
titles in Newcastle, as reported last week, also took a hit of 15 to 20
job losses after the closure of the Evening Chronicle’s 110-year-old
sports title The Pink and late-night edition.

Around 130
journalists will be balloted at the Western Mail & Echo in Cardiff
where 44 jobs are expected to go, 10 in editorial. A further 43 jobs
are on the line at the Scotland papers, 16 of which are in editorial
with the possibility of further redundancies.

The Western Mail
& Echo publishes the Western Mail, the South Wales Echo, Wales on
Sunday and the Celtic group of weekly papers.

Journalists at the
Record and Sunday Mail voted 146-0 in favour of balloting for strike
action against any compulsory redundancies. Of the 16 journalistic
posts earmarked for the chop, it is believed four staff will be
relocated internally – giving a net loss of 12 jobs. It is understood
that the posts to go at the Record include two sub-editors from the
racing desk, a sports journalist, an Edinburgh reporter, a political
writer and a picture desk position.

The NUJ chapel is especially
angry about the closure of the Aberdeen office, which has two staff
reporters – Bob Dow and Charlie Gall. Paul Holleran, the Scottish
organiser for the NUJ, said it was felt that the planned office closure
meant the company had “given up competing” in northeast Scotland.

Although
the Scottish Daily Mirror operates from the Glasgow group’s office, it
comes under the control of London management. It is understood that its
future is secure as Trinity wishes to maintain the Daily Mirror’s
identity across the UK.

Chapels in Birmingham, Coventry and the
four London weekly groups in Trinity Mirror Southern were due to find
out this week how many redundancies will be imposed. It is understood
there could be 14 redundancies at Birmingham.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear accused Trinity of “throwing away its main asset – the skilled editorial staff”.

He
added: “With the possible exception of Cardiff and Glasgow management,
local editorial departments appear to believe they can achieve the cuts
without any compulsory redundancies. Once some of these reviews have
been carried out there will be the filling of some long-term vacancies
we’ve been campaigning to be filled, so the impact could be much less
drastic than first feared.”

A Trinity spokesman said: “We will seek to achieve as many of the job losses as possible through voluntary means.

The
various consultation processes around our businesses are ongoing and
each is different and locally driven. It’s not possible to give further
detail at this stage.

“The steps our businesses are taking are designed to safeguard their future and that of the overwhelming majority of our staff.”

The NUJ was due to hold a second emergency meeting with representatives on Wednesday.

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