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Ballots for action against Trinity Mirror’s digital targets

27 November 2015

NUJ Trinity Mirror chapels are balloting members for action against the company's "individual digital audience goals",  where reporters' stories are measured in terms of the digital traffic they generate.

The union has given notice that it is balloting in Newcastle, North Wales, Birmingham and Coventry. Other chapels are also meeting to consider holding a ballot.

Ballot papers are due to go out from Tuesday 1 December and Wednesday 2 December in Newcastle.

The new goals are being trialled at the Manchester Evening News and Trinity Mirror has indicated it intends to introduce them across the group from January.

The union has been given some reassurances by senior management about the scheme, but members are very concerned at the impact individual targets are likely to have on the culture of cooperation and collaboration  in their newsrooms and believe they will become divisive and harm the teamwork necessary for quality journalism.

They also believe they could undermine public interest journalism and long-term investigative work, because reporters will not gain the high scores populist items are more likely to generate. The union has told management the goals could add to significant stress on individuals who do not always have a choice on the stories they cover.

Chris Morley, NUJ coordinating officer for Trinity Mirror, said:

“We very much want to resolve the key concerns our members have about these proposals, but because of the way the law forces our hand on balloting on industrial action, a number of our chapels feel they need to reserve their position on click targets because of the strength of feeling.
"We acknowledge that the company has sought to reassure on a number of points, but it is clear from what our members are telling us that that has not been enough to deal with fundamental concerns they have. We will be meeting the company in the coming days and looking to resolve these differences, but the company should be in no doubt that the fact chapels feel compelled to give notice of balloting shows that it is very important to members.”

Tags: , local newspapers, local news matters, trinity mirror, newcastle, birmingham, coventry, wales, digital, ballot