Management and subbing of the Evening Gazette in Colchester are to be moved 40 miles away to Basildon – with 13 editorial jobs and the role of editor set to be axed.
According to the National Union of Journalists the changes will effectively make the 21,000-selling Gazette an edition of its Newsquest sister paper, the Basildon Echo – which has an ABC figure of of 34,692.
The news comes a day after Trinity Mirror revealed that is was centralising subbing at one centre for its network of 26 local papers in London and the South East with the loss of 16 editorial jobs.
The cost savings at the Colchester paper, which employs 50 editorial staff, will also see the merger of its two geographical editions – covering Colchester and the Essex coast.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: ‘Our members in Colchester are not fooled by the notion of a paper without an editor.
‘The daily paper in the area will effectively be an edition of the Basildon publication.
‘Colchester was, for a time, the capital of Roman Britain and claims to be the oldest town in the country.
‘The independent cultural life of this proud community is being attacked by Newsquest managers who have no interest in the workers, readers, or advertisers who have been contributing to their vast profits.
‘To cut 14 out of 50 editorial jobs in North Essex will leave journalists there – and in Basildon – under greater pressure and stress.
‘There are no public transport links between Colchester and Basildon. Our members in Colchester calculate it would take them two and a half hours to travel into London and out again to the Newsquest office on the outskirts of Basildon.”
The NUJ chapels at Colchester and Basildon are due to hold meetings on Monday and Tuesday.
No one at Newsquest was available for comment.