Unions fire off opening salvos in battle over Trinity spending cuts

By Sarah Lagan

Journalists on Trinity Mirror’s leading regional titles have
expressed their anger at the company’s proposed job cuts and crackdown
on spending.

NUJ chapels in Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool have fired off
letters to chief executive Sly Bailey condemning the plans, which
unions claim could result in cuts of between five and seven per cent in
the Trinity workforce.

The Birmingham Post & Mail NUJ chapel
passed a resolution saying it will ballot on industrial action if there
was any likelihood of compulsory redundancies.

The feared job
losses would come at a time when the union claims the company is still
very profitable in Birmingham and the Birmingham Mail has just
relaunched. The chapel said it hoped nothing would be done to undermine
the relaunch.

The Newcastle Chronicle & Journal chapel sent a letter to Bailey protesting against possible compulsory job cuts.

The letter said: “We are already operating with skeleton staff and cannot sustain any more job losses… there is no fat to cut.

“While
we appreciate you have obligations to shareholders, we urge you to
recognise it is not in anybody’s interests, including shareholders’,
for the company to operate without proper staffing.”

The chapel said it reserved the right to take industrial action if compulsoryredundancies were imposed.

The Liverpool Post & Echo chapel has called on Trinity to reveal whether the cuts would “impact on executives”.

In
its letter to Bailey, the chapel said: “We find it insulting that we
lose the convenience of the taxi contract, which was time effective,
while executives have company cars that are not always used by those
individuals for work. We have heard the argument that the cars are part
of an executive’s remuneration package, but we have little sympathy
with that when some of these vehicles can cost twice the annual salary
of some journalists.”

The staff company forum at the Western Mail
& Echo in Cardiff has withdrawn its proposed motion of no
confidence in Sly Bailey. The motion was withdrawn on the condition
that Mail & Echo managing director Keith Dye conveyed the anger of
staff on the titles at proposed redundancies and the cancelling of
Christmas parties to senior management at Trinity Mirror.

A
Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “We understand that staff are concerned
about the possible outcome of our review of costs and the uncertainty
this has caused.

“However, we cannot simply ignore the slowdown
in the UK’s advertising markets. The review we are undertaking is no
more than a prudent and measured response to the difficult trading
conditions affecting the entire media industry.

Budget cuts run deep…

STAFF PAY FOR AWARD WINNER’S PLACE

Journalists at the Trinity Mirror-owned Reading Chronicle stepped in
and had a whipround so colleague Ed Godden (pictured below, middle)
could attend an awards ceremony in which he was named Weekly
Photographer of the Year.

Godden entered the Newspaper Society’s Weekly Newspaper Awards but
Trinity Mirror, which has put on a ban on discretionary spending, would
not stump up the £100 ticket for him to attend.

An insider said:
“Even for (Trinity) it was a pretty despicable thing to do, especially
since the company encouraged him to enter in the first place.

“Ed
is a really nice guy and a great photographer, so when we heard that he
was up for an award we were really pleased for him. His colleagues in
the newsroom organised a collection to pay for his ticket so he could
attend the awards ceremony.”

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