Another blast for the Bugle
2 June 2016
Talks between the NUJ and Trinity Mirror have saved the Black Country Bugle, with three members keeping their jobs.
The union had campaigned to keep the Bugle, which specialises in the industrial heritage and social history of the Black Country’s four boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall, in its present home.
Local MPs Ian Austin, David Winnick, John Spellar, Rob Marris, Valerie Vaz, Adrian Bailey and Emma Reynolds provided support, calling on Trinity Mirror to "consult on saving jobs and keeping the paper in the heart of the Black Country".
Three reporters will now remain at the newspaper's office in the Dudley Archives building, albeit in a smaller, cheaper room. The post of editor and the part-time administration staff will be lost, with Gary Phelps adding it to the seven weekly titles he is responsible for in the West Midlands.
The original plan was to cut the staff from this former Local World title to two reporters working remotely and move all production to Tamworth, Staffordshire; many believed this spelled the death knell for the popular publication.
Chris Morley, Northern and Midlands organiser, said:
"The change of heart by the company after the NUJ's counter-proposals and a groundswell of protest following the news that the Bugle would leave the Black Country is definitely to be welcomed. I am confident that real thought has been put into the new plans and, as a result, the company has a more workable and sustainable outcome which keeps NUJ members in their jobs, doing what they do best, producing great stories about the Black Country and its rich heritage.
"Some good has been done in waking up senior managers at Trinity Mirror to the underlying strength of the Bugle's uniqueness and thereby opening up new opportunities. But, left to their own devices this would not have happened, so I wish to thank the support the union received from the Black Country Labour MPs, in particular Dudley South's Ian Austin, whose pressure on the company to do the right thing was very influential."
Gary Phelps put out a statement saying:
“I would like to thank all those who have taken part for their professionalism during a very difficult period. Together we have built a plan that will ensure the Black Country’s heritage will continue to be reported by the Bugle in its own inimitable way for the foreseeable future.”
Dan Shaw, John Workman and deputy editor Gavin Jones