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Guardian Media Group journalists – 'no confidence' in Scott Trust

16 March 2009

Journalists working for the Guardian Media Group (GMG) have declared a vote of no confidence in the Scott Trust Ltd over a decision to make sweeping job cuts.

Members at the NUJ chapel, which represents six weekly titles in the south of Greater Manchester, unanimously passed the motion after the company announced 78 redundancies across GMG's weekly titles and sister paper, the Manchester Evening News.

The Scott Trust-owned firm is also looking to close the offices of all its weekly titles in the region, while job cuts are also being made at the company's Surrey and Berkshire titles.

The chapel has now written to the Scott Trust's chair of trustees, Dame Liz Forgan, to inform her of the vote of no confidence.

The letter, written on behalf of the chapel by  Bethan Dorsett, Mother of the Chapel, said:

"Our members deplore the decision to make these sweeping job cuts, particularly the compulsory editorial redundancies – a first for MEN Media – which will affect around a third of the journalists working in the weeklies.
"We also condemn the decision to remove all local newspapers from their 'patches', which will not only have a devastating effect both on readership, and therefore profits, but also on the remaining staff, who face a complete overhaul of their terms and conditions without the benefit of additional pay.
"We believe this short-sighted decision will effectively obliterate the existence of popular titles, from the Rochdale Observer in the north to the Stockport Express in the south, in all but name.
"The chapel has passed this vote of no confidence in the Scott Trust as we feel these profit-driven decisions threaten the future of quality, independent journalism in the north-west.
"As CP Scott said in his centenary lecture, which laid the foundation of the Trust's values, a newspaper is 'much more than a business' as it 'reflects the influences and life of a whole community'.
"Part of the Trust's present day role is to ensure these values are upheld throughout the GMG group.
"We feel this decision flies in the face of such values."

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"We offer total support to our chapels in Manchester and the south-east who are fighting job cuts at Guardian Media.
"They are absolutely right to point out that the company is trampling all over the values laid down for the firm by Trust founder CP Scott."

The original Scott Trust was wound up last year and replaced with The Scott Trust Limited. Guardian Media said it would not alter the organisation's core ethos.

Tags: , scott trust, newspapers, cuts, no confidence, guardian news and media, manchester evening news, greater manchester weekly newspapers, surrey, berkshire