Newsquest cuts 'will benefit US shareholders'
21 November 2008
Newsquest’s plans to sack 17 journalists from the Northern Echo are putting American shareholders ahead of the paper’s local community.
That’s the message from the NUJ as the company seeks to reduce its editorial workforce in Darlington by almost a fifth.
The company also intends to close five district offices in Stockton, Redcar, Barnard Castle, Richmond and Thirsk. The cuts are being made to a total editorial staff of 102.
Chris Morley, NUJ northern regional organiser, said:
"This is nothing less than vandalism on a great institution of the North – the hacking away of much of what makes the Northern Echo and associated weekly papers an important part of their communities.
"It is also a double whammy for staff who were given a four-line memo today, informing them that if they kept their job next year, their pay would be frozen until at least April 2009 and probably to 2010.
"This is shameful mismanagement which seeks to sacrifice UK journalists’ jobs to line the pockets of American shareholders with a stake in parent company Gannett. Our members have given notice already that they will oppose compulsory redundancies."
Adam Murray, father of the chapel in Darlington, said:
"Closing the district offices is tantamount to waving goodbye to the communities that have been served by the paper for a century."