Trainee reporters put at risk of redundancy at Newsquest's Lancashire Telegraph

Newsquest has announced proposals to sack around half a dozen journalists at the Lancashire Telegraph.

Press Gazette understands that two trainee journalists, a newsdesk journalist, a long-serving librarian and a number of picture desk staff have been told their jobs could go. A vacant editorial artist position won't be filled under the proposals.

All have been given 30-days notice.

One staffer said the cuts have come “out of the blue” and they fellow moves to transfer more than 20 subbing and production jobs to a subbing “hub” in Newport, Wales, 200 miles away.

The paper’s National Union of Journalists Father of Chapel Chris Gee said: “Jane Kennedy, Newsquest regional organiser: "Newsquest have unfolded in the last year a strategy that seems to have no regard for their employees or the production of a quality product.

"The move to Newport subbing hub of titles from the North East and North West continues to produce endless errors and in the very moment that titles are moving from Blackburn and staff are struggling to handle this chaotic move they have been battered with the announcement of these substantial cuts to their already devastated workforce.

"There is no evidence here that Newsquest have any regard for their obligation of a Duty of Care to their employees and the NUJ calls on Henry Faure Walker to step in immediately and halt this process."

Chris Gee, Blackburn NUJ FoC: "Everyone in this newsroom is shocked to the core by the brutality of these cuts.

"It demonstrates that Newsquest has no interest investing in or even maintaining the quality of The Lancashire Telegraph and associated titles.

"Excellent, professional trainee reporters who already work countless hours above their contracts have been told their jobs are redundant.

"One of the young reporters hauled into an office to be told her job was going was only last week shortlisted by the NCTJ for a national award for her reporting excellence.

"Another affected reporter was sent on a residential course to study for her final NQJ exams the day after the announcement.

"This shows the journalists losing their jobs are not only competent, but excellent. 

"Nobody here can comprehend how we can continue to produce a quality product with so few staff."

Sales of the Lancashire Telegraph have halved in the last four years from over 26,000 in 2010 to 13,092 in the first half of this year,

Sales have dropped particularly sharply since 2013 when the cover price increased from 45p to 65p.

In the first half of this year online readership of the Lancashire Telegraph increased 28.8 per cent year on year to an average of 37,662 unique browsers per day.

NUJ regional Newsquest organiser Jane Kennedy said: "Newsquest have unfolded in the last year a strategy that seems to have no regard for their employees or the production of a quality product.

"The move to Newport subbing hub of titles from the North East and North West continues to produce endless errors and in the very moment that titles are moving from Blackburn and staff are struggling to handle this chaotic move they have been battered with the announcement of these substantial cuts to their already devastated workforce.

"There is no evidence here that Newsquest have any regard for their obligation of a duty of care to their employees and the NUJ calls on [chief executive] Henry Faure Walker to step in immediately and halt this process."

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