Fifty editorial jobs are under threat at Trinity Mirror Midlands, the company announced this afternoon.
A restructure will see the creation of a regional production hub for both Birmingham and Coventry, the introduction of a regional features unit for entertainment and lifestyle and the merging of some specialist reporter roles.
Trinity Mirror is also closing three free weekly titles: the Chase Post, the Stafford Post and the Sutton News.
The restructure will result in the loss of 50 jobs, though the company said that in order to make the restructure effective it will be recruiting five full-time editorial roles.
A further 11 jobs in advertising are also earmarked for redundancy.
According to the NUJ Trinity Mirror Midlands, which has a portfolio of around 50 papers including the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Mail, made a £7m loss in 2009 but in the 2010 financial year this was turned around to a £3.2m operating profit.
The union now wants to know ‘what went so horribly wrong’in the intervening months.
This is the third jobs cull at Trinity’s Midlands base in the last three years, according to the NUJ, which said 65 editorial jobs went in 2008 and 45 in 2009.
In a statement Trinity said the restructure was made ‘in order to ensure a sustainable future for their newspapers and websites”.
The review was carried out by new Trinity Mirror Midlands managing director Steve Anderson-Dixon. He said: ‘This review of our organisational structure is vital if we are to ensure a future for our newspapers and websites in the Midlands.
‘We all need to work more closely as a region and sharing key resources is a key theme in these proposals.
‘These actions will result in a reduction in the number of roles at all levels, across a number of offices and departments and we have entered into a period of consultation with all affected staff.”
NUJ Midlands organiser Chris Morley, who was father of chapel at Trinity Mirror Midlands for 13 years, said that since Trinity Mirror took over the papers in 2001 ‘there has been nothing but cuts”.
‘There just seems to be no credible management plan to expand the business,’he said. ‘It was on life support and it looked like had turned the corner.
‘The question is why have they delivered such a devastating blow?
‘This will cripple morale at the most delicate time and we have to fear for the worst.”
Morley said the union will now begin consulting on what it can do to defend its members.
This year Trinity has also made cuts in Newcastle, Wales and Scotland.