Trinity to axe 15 staff as it closes two more Welsh papers

Trinity Mirror is planning to close two paid-for weekly papers in South Wales and axe around 15 posts.

The publisher’s Media Wales operation is to cease publishing the Neath Guardian and Port Talbot Guardian from the start of next month.

Media Wales said closing the loss-making papers would result in three full-time editorial roles. The publisher will also cut 12 full-time roles from its niche and magazine portfolio.

Journalists on other Media Wales titles – including the Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday and the Celtic weekly series – are to hold a ballot on possible strike action over the threat of job cuts.

According to the National Union of Journalists, the publisher’s failure to rule out compulsory redundancy has triggered the decision to call a ballot.

This latest move follows confirmation from Trinity Mirror, earlier this week, that it was about to close three other weekly newspapers, in North Wales and North West England, with the loss of 11 jobs.

The union yesterday served management at Media Wales with formal notification that its 123 members at Trinity’s Cardiff headquarters and district offices would be issued with ballot papers on 1 October over the latest cuts to affect South Wales.

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the NUJ has chosen this course of action which does nothing to address the commercial challenges facing Media Wales. However, we are continuing to work with the NUJ and all staff to try to achieve these necessary changes through voluntary means.”

This week’s cuts in Wales and the North West follow a string of others across Trinity Mirror.

The regional publisher announced plans to axe 94 posts and shut nine weekly papers in the Midlands in July.

Trinity Mirror has consistently said the closures reflect the challenging economic conditions affecting its local advertising markets.

In July, Trinity Mirror reported a year-on-year fall of 31.4 per cent in operating profit in the first half of the year with the company saying advertising had dropped to an unprecedented low level during the downturn.

Martin Shipton, NUJ Father of Chapel at Media Wales, said: “Although we have been briefed fully about the financial position of the company and the group, we are determined that no NUJ member should be made compulsorily redundant as a result of these cuts.

‘We expect the company to ensure that will be the outcome.”

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