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More newspaper jobs at risk in Local Government Secretary's constituency

6 April 2017

Newsquest titles in the Midlands, including one singled out for praise by Sajid Javid, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, face a new set of cuts and redundancies.

The office in Stourbridge produces six titles, the Stourbridge News, Halesowen News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Advertiser and Redditch Advertiser. In a speech to the Society of Editors in 2014 when he was Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid said: "My constituency, Bromsgrove, is privileged to be served by two excellent papers, the Advertiser and the Standard. It’s hard to imagine life in the town without them. And right now, papers like these have a more important role than ever."

It is proposed that three of the 11 reporters, including three trainees, will be put at risk of redundancy, plus one of two part-time content managers. Separately, but as part of the same publishing unit, it is understood the company apparently wants to cut two content manager jobs at Worcester where the daily the Worcester News and a series of weeklies are produced.

It was only last September that the company announced it wanted to make two reporting roles redundant at Stourbridge and made other cuts at Worcester. The chapel put forward successful alternatives which eliminated the need for a compulsory redundancy at Stourbridge and one journalist took voluntary redundancy.

Consultation on the latest proposals is due to start on Monday and the chapel is meeting this to discuss the plans. The company is proposing to make the changes from May 1.

Gurdip Thandi, the chapel's FoC, said: “This is a real body-blow to members and they have been left shell-shocked. It is especially disappointing that this is happening so soon after the last redundancy round. We want the opportunity to seek alternatives to minimise the number of jobs that might be lost and explore other ways that savings can be achieved. People are very worried about their future.”

Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands organiser, said: “After a week in which the NUJ highlighted the incredibly vital role that journalists play in their communities through the Local News Matters campaign, it is back to the relentless diet of further job losses in local newspapers. I know that our members producing these six titles are hugely dedicated and loyal to their work, so a fresh round of redundancies comes as a kick in the teeth to them. They are struggling to maintain their quality journalism, despite all that is happening to handicap them in this task. We will be looking hard at these latest proposals by Newsquest and seek to mitigate the worst aspects of what is a very black day for journalism in the towns served by these titles.”

Support the Local News Matters campaign by signing and sharing the NUJ and TUC public pledge calling for investment in quality local journalism and for the UK government to launch a public inquiry to examine the local media crisis.

Tags: , local news matters, local newspapers, newsquest, Stourbridge News, Halesowen News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Advertiser, Redditch Advertiser, Sajid Javid, Worcester News, redundancies, cuts