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Newsquest moves production to India and cuts more jobs in Oxford and Bournemouth

16 July 2015

Former Romanes group titles in Berkshire, now owned by Newsquest, are to outsource the production of advertisements to India and production hubs in Southampton and Newport.

Newsquest also announced seven jobs are to go in management, news, photographic and sport on the Oxford Mail and other titles in Oxfordshire. Two photographer roles are being cut in Bournemouth.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

"It's another summer of sackings at Newsquest. Once again they are cutting vital editorial jobs in Oxford and with absolutely no plan of how they will be able to operate with the remaining staff. Long serving staff with decades of experience are getting the chop and once again photographers are in the line of fire.
It’s all about propping up profit margins. US parent company, Gannett, reported a 2013 profit of £52.8m and was able to pay chief executive Gracia Martore more than £7.5m. We are also deeply concerned that Newsquest is outsourcing its advert production to India; this is a very worrying development.

"The union's Local News Matters campaign is calling for a short, sharp inquiry into the future of local newspapers and for properly resourced titles which can act as watchdogs, keeping tabs on power and giving a voice to the communities they serve."

Newsquest recently acquired the Romanes group and its titles in Berkshire include the Reading Chronicle, Reading Midweek, Newbury & Thatcham, Bracknell Midweek, Bracknell News, Slough Midweek and the Slough Observer. A letter to staff from Tina Wright, operations director, said:

"In order to improve operational efficiency within the Berkshire production business and reduce costs, we are notifying you of our proposal to dissolve our production function from its regional base. This proposal affects you all in that we propose to outsource the production of adverts and move to a centralised function. In the event that the production function does transfer out of Berkshire, the work you currently produce will be picked up externally in India and internally within Southampton and Newport, therefore the company is proposing to make your roles redundant."  Seven posts are believed to be affected.

Simon O’Neill, group editor in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, announced the redundancies of editorial staff. Last year, 25 production roles were cut in Oxford and the work was moved to Newsquest's subbing hub in Newport.

Local News Matters

Tags: , local newspapers, local news matters, newsquest, romanes, berkshire, bournemouth, oxford, reading, slough, photographers, redundancies, newsport, subbing hub