The National Union of Journalists has warned that plans to shut the office of the Burton Mail next month could “compromise the future” of the daily title.
Reach is planning to close the Mail’s office in Workington Way, Burton on 10 January, with 12 members of staff due to be affected.
Staff will be expected to split their time between working from the Derby Telegraph office half an hour away for at least two days a week, and working from home the rest of the time.
A Reach spokesperson said: “There are no redundancies as a result of this change and we are committed to listening to our employees and keeping them fully informed.”
The Mail’s NUJ chapel is calling on Reach to fund a new, cost-effective base in Burton along with a guarantee the team will “remain intact so they can continue to offer distinctive local reporting and quality journalism”.
Staff are also asking for a financial guarantee that they will not lose out if they are forced to work from home.
Chris Morley, NUJ northern and midlands senior organiser, said: “We are entering talks with the company about a very significant development for our members which some fear may compromise the future of the Burton Mail as a proud daily publication.
“This newspaper and its brand are highly regarded locally and have a successful history in representing this unique and very individual town. It is crucial that the journalistic team that does so much to properly reflect that is not broken up and its character destroyed.
“We will be working with the company to make this both a sustainable and successful business. We hope the company will seriously consider all the options and take the right choices, not necessarily the easy but unsustainable ones.”
The local NUJ branch, which compromises the union’s members from across different sectors in the region, expressed concerns that the plans could “imply a move towards closing the newspaper”.
The branch called on Reach to reverse its decision and has reached out to local politicians, businesses, organisations, advertisers and readers to share their support and write to the company expressing their views.
Last year Burton Mail journalists and members of the local community wrote to Reach, then Trinity Mirror, urging it to reconsider closing the title’s website and merging it with the Derbyshire Live brand.
The publisher subsequently launched Staffordshire Live covering Burton and other nearby areas.
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