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Newsquest plans cuts at Darlington's Northern Echo

4 November 2010

Newsquest in Darlington has announced a new round of job cuts as a result of plans to merge the subbing teams for the weekly and daily newspapers.  

The proposed job cuts include axing two subeditors, one reporter, one assistant editor, a production editor, website assistant, librarian and graphic designer.

The plans also include forcing all subeditors to apply for posts within the new single team, which will be divided into three shifts.

The job cuts proposals are being justified by the company on the basis of cost-saving and would amount to approximately £130,000.

The NUJ has rejected the so-called efficiency drive:

  • Paul Davidson, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Newsquest, was awarded just less than £130,000 as a pay rise last year.
  • The Newsquest North East accounts in 2009 (which include the Northern Echo) show that the business remains profitable.
  • The accounts show company turnover was £17.9m and company profits before tax were at £3.8m (after tax £3.28m).
  • Alongside continuing profits last year, editorial numbers were slashed and further cuts were made in 2008.

Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands Organiser, said:

"The continued attack on editorial quality at a flagship centre like the Northern Echo through continued, deep and damaging job cuts shows the company's disdain for hard working staff and it is also clear Newsquest has no concern for quality journalism and the long-term future of its titles.
"Newsquest is too pre-occupied with servicing the massive debt Gannet built up to buy the UK group – Manchester United-style – and putting money into US shareholders' pockets.
"Our members are the company's best assets and they are sick of being treated with contempt with a seemingly endless pay freeze and other constant attacks on their terms and conditions by a management that appears to view its staff as an enemy.
"The NUJ will not stand by idly if members are picked on to be forced out of their jobs."

The proposed cuts at Darlington are in addition to other job cuts and pay freeze at Newsquest.

Tags: darlington, , gannett, subeditors, newsquest, newspapers, northern echo, cuts