Vote of no confidence in Archant Norfolk management

Journalists at Archant Norfolk have issued a vote of no confidence in the company’s management in response to its handling of a redundancy process.

Staff at the company are unhappy at Archant’s conduct after 54 redundancies, since reduced to 34, were announced last month.

The National Union of Journalists said Archant’s new system was based on the principle of journalists getting things “right first time” – while redundancy procedures had not been right first, second or even third time.

An NUJ statement said: “The NUJ feels that while editorial staff have conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism throughout a long period of uncertainty since last November, our management has added hugely to the stress and emotional pressure on our journalists with a redundancy process that has seemed confused and ill-prepared from the start.

“It has consistently claimed that its proposal for job losses is based on the implementation of efficient new technology but, having shifted from 54 to 34 proposed redundancies in the space of days, has further undermined its credibility with mistakes over new rotas, changed its mind within minutes under questioning on the new pay scales and generally demonstrates it doesn’t yet know enough about the new system to have based real, pragmatic decisions on the technology.

“It has faced a legal challenge over the fairness of the process and shifted its position, throwing many ‘not at risk’ people back into uncertainty over something that should simply have been right from day one.”

Last month, Archant announced plans to cut 54 jobs from the editorial department of 179, who work on the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and weeklies including the Yarmouth Mercury and Lowestoft Journal.

After protests from the NUJ chapel, readers and MPs, Archant announced the number of redundancies would be reduced to 34.

Archant says the recession forced them to make cuts, and that a new £2 million piece of editorial software would enable the newsrooms to operate effectively with fewer staff.

In March, the company announced a £22.2m profit in the 12 months to December 2008, down 27.2 per cent from £30.5m in 2007.

Archant were unavailable for comment a the time of publication.

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