Jobs to go as Newsquest moves production from North-east to Wales
26 November 2013
More than 20 journalists’ jobs at York, Bradford and Darlington are at risk as their employer Newsquest announced it is preparing to install a new subbing system.
Sub-editors’ posts are set to be lost in all three centres at Newsquest North-east, with five at risk in York, 11 at Bradford and seven at Darlington.
The production of all three centres’ newspapers will be switched to a central subbing hub at Newport from February.
Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, York’s NUJ joint Fathers of the Chapel, said:
“We are totally outraged at this development and opposed to any more redundancies. For the past six years our members have borne the brunt of a hack and slash policy of sackings, frequent bouts of non-replacement of staff, and crippling pay freezes, which, combined with the high rise in the cost of living, effectively means almost annual pay cuts.
“Management say the new system will improve editorial operation within the entire Newsquest business. How can this be when local newspapers, whose daily existence and lifeblood hinges on the closest of links with their respective communities, are to be produced hundreds of miles away, indeed in another country?
“It seems ridiculous that three local newspapers in York, Bradford and Darlington are again being systematically dismantled, downgraded and ultimately destroyed to make yet more profit for a parent company, which has shown little regard for, or faith in, hundreds of hard-working and ever more flexible staff.”
Bob Smith, Father of Chapel at Bradford, said:
“Newsquest’s plans to close its subbing operation at Bradford and rely on a centre 230 miles away shows a disdain for some of its most experienced and loyal staff, but also for the citizens of Bradford.
“Any pretence that this American-owned company has a connection with the communities it should serve has been blown by this decision.
“An inevitable consequence will be a diminution in the quality of the once-proud Telegraph & Argus. The people of Bradford deserve better than this from a company that profits handsomely from the local economy.
“As Paul Davidson prepares to depart with a comfortable pension and pay-off, this latter-day Ebenezer Scrooge has condemned journalists and their families in Bradford to a thoroughly miserable Christmas.
“One chapel member has already had to make the move two years ago from Darlington to Bradford. She is now expected to uproot her family and cross the Severn to earn a living hundreds of miles away. Newsquest shows utter contempt for its journalists in its unfathomable rush to undermine the business that provides its profits.”
Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands organiser, said:
“When Newsquest took its axe several months ago to the subbing hub at Worcester to move the work across the border to Wales, the NUJ said the company had clearly abandoned its commitment to local journalism.Even by Newsquest standards, is it breath-taking if management think no consequences will flow from sending local news around 270 miles from the far north of England to the southern fringe of Wales
“The sorry reign of Paul Davidson as chief executive is due to come to a close on April Fools’ Day next year, but none of his journalists are laughing as he seems to be intent on carrying on right to the end with his nihilistic vision of dismantling quality journalism around his group.
"This is a terrible legacy he leaves from more than a decade at the helm of Newsquest. We will engage the company hard during the coming months to make sure we save as many members’ jobs and try to find ways of off-setting the damage likely to be caused by today’s announcement which has left journalists in the affected centres shell-shocked and devastated.”