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Evening Standard plans to cut staff hours by half a "huge blow"

© Mark Thomas

23 February 2017

The NUJ has criticised the Evening Standard for moving to a one-edition a day print publication, cutting sub-editors work and pay by half and putting reporters on a four-day week.

More than 30 members of staff look to be affected by the changes, however the final figure is not clear.  All reporters and full-time sports sub-editors have received letters asking if they would to change to a four-day week.

A letter to staff from Doug Wills, managing editor, said the paper would produce a second edition when there is a major story or events such as the Budget. The proposed changes would cut sub-editors hours by a half and, as they will be working less than six hours a day, they will not be entitled to a formal lunch break.

The letter said the move to one edition will require most page editors and sub-editors working from 7.30 to 11.30.  It added: "We are confident that this decision will not detrimentally affect the editorial excellence that Evening Standards readers expect."

A source quoted in the Press Gazette likened the plan to the David Brent school of management and asked how management thought staff would be able to survive on half their pay.

The Evening Standard, bought by Alexander Lebedev in 2009, was a paid-for publication with five editions when he took it over. 

The NUJ will be citing the disastrous effect this will have on news coverage in London, as part of its evidence to an inquiry session into local news provision by the economics committee of the London Assembly next month. The capital is already ill-served by its local press, following years of job cuts on most titles, particularly those owned by Newsquest.  An analysis by the Press Gazette discovered that that London has fewer newspapers per million of population compared to other regions in the country.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

"This is a huge blow to the loyal staff on the Standard who must take credit for this profitable newspaper's recent success. It will also have a huge impact on the coverage of news for its readers; the management must be living in cloud cuckooland to say that editorial excellence will not be affected.
"They have made a mockery of any meaningful consultation. The one-edition only newspaper is already on the streets as staff wait to hear their fate.

"The editor Sarah Sands may have a new safe berth at Radio 4's Today programme, but how are her staff expected to survive on half their pay? It is a travesty that one of the greatest capitals of the world cannot enjoy a rich, vibrant and varied press."

If you work at the Evening Standard and your hours or job is at risk, get in touch with the NUJ at publishing@nuj.org.uk

If you work on a newspaper in London and would like to contribute information or case studies to the NUJ's presentation at the London Assembly's inquiry get in touch at campaigns@nuj.org.uk

Tags: , local newspapers, local news matters, evening standard, cuts, alexander lebedev, london, london assembly