Telegraph's plan to replace casuals questioned by NUJ

The National Union of Journalists has questioned plans by Telegraph Media Group to axe casual workers and replace them with 40 new permanent jobs, with one union source claiming the publisher is ‘giving with one hand and taking away with the other”.

In a statement, the union said that although the announcement ‘makes good headlines”, it was not yet clear what effect the changes would have on freelances working for the papers and the overall net headcount.

The publisher of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and telegraph.co.uk said this week that the move away from casual work reflected the demands of a 24-hour online news environment and the ‘continuing and growing demand for editorial content”.

Most national newspapers rely on casual staff working shifts to cope in busy periods during the production schedule and as a way of trying out potential new employees.

Press Gazette understands that the new positions will be advertised internally at first.

NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear, said the union would be holding weekly meetings with management to discuss the plans, as it was unclear how many of the 40 new posts would be full-time.

‘We’ll need time to examine the detail of these plans and exactly what they will mean for everyone working at the Telegraph,’he said.

‘Although the creation of new jobs makes good headlines, the proposals to end the use of casuals will be of serious concern to freelances at the papers, while permanent employees will be extremely anxious about the implications for their hours and working patterns.

One union source told Press Gazette: ‘What they are giving with one hand they are more than taking away with the other.”

TMG has also announced plans to scrap the nine-day fortnight worked by a number of production staff on the two papers, rolling out a 10-day fortnight across the group.

Staff who are willing to embrace changes to their working patterns will receive a one-off bonus of £2,000, the company said.

In a statement, Telegraph Media Group editor-in-chief Will Lewis said: ‘We are continuing to invest in the excellence of our editorial operations.

‘TMG has made fantastic progress with our integration process and it is because of this we are able to recruit for 40 new roles.

‘By accelerating our change programme we believe we will be stronger in this difficult economic climate.”The National Union of Journalists has questioned plans by Telegraph Media Group to axe casual workers and replace them with 40 new permanent jobs, with one union source claiming the publisher is ‘giving with one hand and taking away with the other”.

In a statement, the union said that although the announcement ‘makes good headlines”, it was not yet clear what effect the changes would have on freelances working for the papers and the overall net headcount.

The publisher of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and telegraph.co.uk said this week that the move away from casual work reflected the demands of a 24-hour online news environment and the ‘continuing and growing demand for editorial content”.

Most national newspapers rely on casual staff working shifts to cope in busy periods during the production schedule and as a way of trying out potential new employees.

Press Gazette understands that the new positions will be advertised both internally and externally – which means regular freelances will be competing with outsiders for the jobs.

NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear, said the union would be holding weekly meetings with management to discuss the plans, as it was unclear how many of the 40 new posts would be full-time.

‘We’ll need time to examine the detail of these plans and exactly what they will mean for everyone working at the Telegraph,’he said.

‘Although the creation of new jobs makes good headlines, the proposals to end the use of casuals will be of serious concern to freelances at the papers, while permanent employees will be extremely anxious about the implications for their hours and working patterns.

One union source told Press Gazette: ‘What they are giving with one hand they are more than taking away with the other.”

TMG has also announced plans to scrap the nine-day fortnight worked by a number of production staff on the two papers, rolling out a 10-day fortnight across the group.

Staff who are willing to embrace changes to their working patterns will receive a one-off bonus of £2,000, the company said.

In a statement, Telegraph Media Group editor-in-chief Will Lewis said: ‘We are continuing to invest in the excellence of our editorial operations.

‘TMG has made fantastic progress with our integration process and it is because of this we are able to recruit for 40 new roles.

‘By accelerating our change programme we believe we will be stronger in this difficult economic climate.”

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