The National Union of Journalists has condemned plans to transfer sub-editing posts from Yorkshire and the North East to its Welsh subbing hub, threatening more than 20 jobs.
The union said 11 jobs were at risk in Bradford, five in York and seven in Darlington – as subs are moved up to 270 miles away. This is a result of plans by Newsquest to transfer more sub-editors to its central hub in Newport, South Wales.
Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, York’s NUJ joint Fathers of the Chapel, said: “We are totally outraged at this development and opposed to any more redundancies. For the past six years our members have borne the brunt of a hack and slash policy of sackings, frequent bouts of non-replacement of staff, and crippling pay freezes, which, combined with the high rise in the cost of living, effectively means almost annual pay cuts.
“Management say the new system will improve editorial operation within the entire Newsquest business. How can this be when local newspapers, whose daily existence and lifeblood hinges on the closest of links with their respective communities, are to be produced hundreds of miles away, indeed in another country?
“It seems ridiculous that three local newspapers in York, Bradford and Darlington are again being systematically dismantled, downgraded and ultimately destroyed to make yet more profit for a parent company, which has shown little regard for, or faith in, hundreds of hard-working and ever more flexible staff.”
NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said the company was once again showing contempt for local journalism by moving vital jobs to a centralised hub outside the community.
“Even by Newsquest standards, is it breath-taking if management think no consequences will flow from sending local news around 270 miles from the far north of England to the southern fringe of Wales
“The sorry reign of Paul Davidson as chief executive [pictured above] is due to come to a close on April Fools’ Day next year, but none of his journalists are laughing as he seems to be intent on carrying on right to the end with his nihilistic vision of dismantling quality journalism around his group. This is a terrible legacy he leaves from more than a decade at the helm of Newsquest. We will engage the company hard during the coming months to make sure we save as many members’ jobs and try to find ways of off-setting the damage likely to be caused by today’s announcement which has left journalists in the affected centres shell-shocked and devastated.”