TEAMtalk to axe 57 journalists

Oakley: behind strategic review

Radio and internet sports group TEAMtalk could face industrial action over plans to cut 57 journalists jobs only months after the launch of its sports-only station.

The axing of 75 staff in total comes after Teamtalk’s decision to reject a £10m offer for the company from UK Betting earlier this month.

Teamtalk 252 launched in March with ambitions of rivalling BBC Radio Five Live and Kelvin MacKenzie’s talkSPORT.

The company employs around 115 journalists supplying sports news for the radio station as well as its website, premium phone lines and sports information services.

The redundancies come after former Regional Independent Media chief executive Chris Oakley was brought in to replace Bill Wilson as chairman after the company was forced to write off £10.5m of assets.

Following an admission that the cost of launching the radio station had far exceeded expectations, Oakley began implementing a wide-ranging strategic review and restructuring.

Along with cutting its workforce, the Leeds-based company also sold off its Swedish and German operations.

But the NUJ has rejected the redundancy package currently on offer and is planning to ballot staff on Wednesday over industrial action in support of improved terms for all staff and freelances.

A spokeswoman for Teamtalk confirmed the redundancies, adding that the company "was halfway through its four-year strategic plan and every new company expects a shake-up".

By Julie Tomlin

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