Sixty staff seek Express & Star redundancy

More than 60 staff have accepted a voluntary redundancy scheme at Wolverhampton's Express and Star, taking the total number of job cuts since last summer to nearly 130.

Managing director Alan Harris announced the round of cuts in January and said the newspaper was forced to reduce staff numbers due to "poor trading conditions". Harris anticipated that only 35 to 40 staff would accept the deal.

Heads of departments are now looking into who should be given the deal.

A round of redundancies was announced last summer and 69 staff, 14 in editorial, accepted the voluntary deal in June.

Staff learned of the new redundancies last week and NUJ father of chapel John Corser is hopeful that high takeup of the deal will prevent the company from imposing voluntary redundancies.

"We are hopeful that there won't be any," he said. "We would prefer it if there were no [redundancies], but we will support any member who is seeking redundancy and needs advice."

Corser said the Express and Star, owned by Midland News Association, was one of the best-staffed regional newspapers in the country with more than 1,000 staff in the group and 11 editions. MNA has now sold off its newsagents chain to Midlands Co-op and is currently reviewing its regional offices.

Press Gazette understands that management are considering closing the paper's Dudley district office. The Shropshire Star, another MNA title, lost 30 staff through voluntary redundancies last summer, six of them in editorial.

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