Trinity Mirror is to shut down eight of its newspapers in the Midlands which Press Gazette has learned will make 23 staff redundant, including six in editorial.
The papers, all weeklies or fortnightlies in the Derby and Peterborough areas, are the Belper Bugle, Derby Trader, Ilkeston Trader, Ripley Trader, Peterborough Herald and Post, Stamford Herald and Post, Whittlesey Standard and Deepings Standard.
Press Gazette understands staff learned the news at 4pm today and were told to collect their things at the end of the day and not return. Staff at Peterborough are to meet with the company on Monday to discuss the consulatation.
Chris Morley, northern and Midlands organiser for the National Union of Union of Journalists, condemned the move as ‘short-sighted’and urged the company to consider ways of keeping the papers afloat.
‘This has come completely out of the blue for staff. It appears to have been done in quite a brutal way. I am being told that staff were given one hour to clear their desks – that is totally unacceptable.
‘The market is in a particular place at the moment, but who is to say that they won’t regret this decision in the future? We would have liked to see whether there was scope to invest in the papers and keep them open.”
The NUJ does not have any official recognition at the papers, but Morley said the union would help any union members involved in the closure.
The company said today that the loss-making papers’ offices in Derby and Peterborough would be closed down. Trinity said in a statement that there were no plans to close any other titles and that consultation had begun with the affected staff.
Steve Brown, regional managing director got Trinity Mirror’s Midlands division, said: ‘It is a very sad day when newspaper titles close and we looked hard at alternative measures to try and prevent this decision. However, the remaining titles in the Trinity Mirror Midlands marketplace remain strong and the management team is focused on continuing to grow audiences and products across the rest of the region.’