Jobs to be lost as Newsquest centralises subbing in South
1 April 2014
Newsquest's decision to further centralise subbing in the south of England, despite the problems already apparent in Newport, is ill-thought out and not in the interests of local journalism.
The company intends to move the news and features production of its Sussex titles to Weymouth, where the Dorset Echo is based, putting sub-editing jobs in Southampton and Brighton at risk. A statement by the company said the roles of Hampshire Society Editor and Hampshire Chronicle deputy editor were also at risk of redundancy.
A statement issued in Southampton said:
"In order to improve operational efficiency within the Newsquest Sussex business and to reduce costs, we are notifying you of Brighton's (Newsquest Sussex Limited) proposal to transfer their sub editing production contract with Southampton to the Weymouth (Newsquest Media (Southern) Limited) sub editing unit in Dorset…
"As part of these proposed changes all sub editing roles in the department at Southampton, with the exception of sports production, would move directly under the control of the regional chief sub editor, in a general subbing unit, working on any publication, therefore removing the distinction between news, features and supplements, and including the Hampshire Chronicle, Hampshire Society specialist sub editors."
The statement said the Southampton proposal would "entail the loss of approximately 6FTE consisting of sub-editing and design posts except sport." A formal consultation is open until 16 May.
A statement issued in Brighton said the proposed transfer would affect 5FTE subbing staff; overall its understood 8 people are at risk of losing their jobs.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
"These proposals are already discredited. We know from experience elsewhere that shifting subbing miles further away from the communities the papers serve doesn't work. Readers deserve better than this relentless cost cutting by Newsquest.
"The staff affected cannot simply uproot their families and their lives. Newsquest is putting them in an impossible situation. And, to top it off, draconian pay freezes in five out of the last six years will also hit redundancy payments."
Newsquest is in the process of moving production of its newspapers in the North East to a subbing hub in Newport, Wales. A host of problems have been reported here, with the software system and with too few people producing too many pages, errors have occurred because staff responsible for sub-editing have no connection with the publications they are working on.