Western Mail and Echo cuts more than forty staff

By Sarah Lagan

Forty-four members of staff at Trinity’s Western Mail and Echo in
Cardiff are to be made redundant, just two years after the company axed
50 posts.

Around 10 of the redundancies will be journalists, including an editor at Celtic Weekly Newspapers.

Four
editorial redundancies are likely at the Western Mail, three on the
South Wales Echo and a further three at Celtic Weekly Newspapers. The
30-day consultation period began on Thursday, although it is likely to
be extended to 13 January because of the Christmas break. It is
understood that the company wants the redundancies to be completed by
20 January.

NUJ chapel spokesman Martin Shipton said: “We have
decided we will resist compulsory redundancies by all means, including
industrial action. We will be arguing that throughout the course of the
consultation period.

“We are very unhappy. Trinity should be
investing in these newspapers, which have proved profitable. They are
making more money out of them now than they have ever done.

“The
Celtic newspapers are very well read. They want one editor in charge of
the Pontypridd Observer and the Rhondda Leader, but these are two areas
in the valleys that need distinctive newspapers.

Any reduction is unacceptable.”

Leighton
Andrews, the Labour assembly member for Rhondda and a former senior BBC
manager, criticised the move in the Welsh Assembly.

In a question
to Jane Hutt, the assembly’s business minister, Andrews said: “It is
important that we ensure that we have a thriving local media industry,
providing local news that local people want. The Rhondda Leader is
owned by the Trinity Mirror Group, which has a near-dominant position
in the Welsh market.

“We need to debate the state of the press in Wales,” Andrews said.

The
union chapel is due to meet on Monday to see if there are any
volunteers for redundancy and to see whether any vacancies can be
filled elsewhere in the company.

A spokesman for the Western Mail
and Echo said: “In view of the challenging economic conditions, Western
Mail and Echo has conducted a review of its cost base. The business is
entering a period of consultation with those employees affected.”

Trinity Mirror chapels have passed a motion of no confidence in chief executive Sly Bailey.

■ Trinity is dropping the Newcastle Evening Chronicle’s late-night final as well as its sports paper, The Pink.

Around 15 jobs will go.

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