Welsh and Scottish politicians challenge Bailey on job cuts

Politicians
in Scotland and Wales are demanding that Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey
appear before them to justify the slashing of jobs on newspapers in
their countries.

It follows news that Trinity plans to make 27
out of 29 journalist jobs redundant on the Scottish Daily Mirror, as
well as cutting jobs at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Glasgow. In
Wales jobs are going at the Western Mail and Echo and on Trinity-owned
weekly papers.

The latest cutbacks bring the total number of journalists cut from the Daily Mirror since 2003 to around 100.

In
protest against the Scottish cuts Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy
Sheridan has tabled a parliamentary motion, which has received
cross-party support, demanding that Bailey explain her actions.

Sheridan
said: “It’s not good enough to sit in an office in London and destroy
people’s livelihoods with the stroke of a pen. We want to see this
woman appear before a Parliamentary committee to explain why she has
done this and to explain how she can continue to pay herself over one
million pounds a year into the bargain.”

In Wales, the Assembly’s
culture committee has agreed to hold an evidencetaking inquiry into the
“role of TM in the media market in Wales”. The inquiry was sparked by
jobs cuts in both the northern and southern operations.

Leighton
Andrews, the former head of public affairs for the BBC in London who
now sits for Labour in Rhondda, wants Sly Bailey to attend the
committee.

He said: “It is important to have the London management here.”

Plaid
Cymru Assembly Member Owen John Thomas added: “I would like Sly Bailey
to explain the rationale behind these latest proposals and the plans of
her organisation for the future of their papers in Wales.”

Both
Welsh mornings – the Western Mail in Cardiff and Daily Post in
Llandudno Junction – are owned by Trinity Mirror, as is the largest
evening, the South Wales Echo, in Cardiff, plus most weeklies along the
northern coast, and the Celtic Press group in the southern industrial
valleys.

Tory leader of the Welsh Assembly, Nick Bourne, said:
“It is important that we secure a vibrant media for Wales, just as
there is in Scotland. Job losses are generally announced when a company
is in financial difficulty, but that is not the case here.”

Trinity
Mirror journalists in Cardiff are due to ballot for strike action on
Monday over a possible 44 job cuts, 10 of which would be in editorial.

Scottish Daily Mirror casualties are understood to include editor Mike Graham and his two assistant editors.

One
editorial insider said: “There is a great sense that staff have been
betrayed by the company after pouring their heart and soul into the
Scottish Daily Mirror these past years.”

The Sunday Mirror in Scotland has lost one job, sports reporter Joe McHugh, leaving a staff of three.

The NUJ is in negotiations with Trinity Mirror and has put forward alternate business plans in a bid to save jobs.

The
Scottish Daily Mirror sells an average of 44,980 copies a day compared
with a circulation of 414,123 for sister paper the Daily Record and
356,716 for the Scottish Sun.

A spokeswoman for MGN said: “The
Scottish Mirror is not closing but it is proposed that the operation be
scaled back, and we have entered a period of consultation with those
staff affected. The changes follow a review designed to safeguard the
business in the face of challenging economic conditions.

“The
title will retain reporting staff in Scotland, as well as sharing
editorial resources with the Daily Record. We are as committed as ever
to producing a paper that is relevant to Scotland and we will continue
to deliver a quality Scottish Mirror.”

At The People in London it is understood that deputy editor Alan Edwards is taking redundancy.

Meanwhile,
at the Trinity Mirrorowned Daily Record and Sunday Mail journalists
were this week balloting on industrial action over plans to cut 16
editorial jobs and close the Aberdeen office.

The total number of
redundancies at Trinity Mirror as part of the latest round of cuts is
predicted by the NUJ to be between 300 and 350 rather than the original
reports of 550 to 770.

The Birmingham Post & Mail is likely to lose seven editorial jobs and there are seven posts to go in Coventry.

Reporting by Jon Slattery, Dominic Ponsford, Hamish Mackay, Clive Betts and Sarah Lagan

Tabloid rivalry
SUN MOCK MEMORIAL ‘PATHETIC’

Scottish Sun journalists were branded “pathetic” after printing a death notice for the Scottish Mirror, writes Dominic Ponsford.

The
Scottish Sun responded to Trinity’s move to cut all but two jobs on the
paper in Glasgow by printing a spoof memorial notice which it said was
“lamented by a shrunken circle of friends and acquaintances”.

A
news page story was also devoted to the story, headlined “Scottish
Daily Mirror on the fall”. One Mirror insider said: “It was the
gloating aspect which riles. When The Sun closed in Manchester we
didn’t tell our readers that The Sun doesn’t care about the north.
Doing it that way, when inevitably there are going to be more
redundancies at The Sun, is rather pathetic. It hurt a lot of people.”

But
according to insiders at the Scottish Mirror, the coverage was intended
to target not journalists themselves but parent company Trinity Mirror.
A number of Scottish Daily Mirror journalists are understood to have
already contacted the Scottish Sun to enquire about work.

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