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Newsquest to sack entire newsroom

18 November 2010

Newsquest plan to sack 18 journalists and force them to apply for 16 new posts with worse terms and conditions. The journalists work on the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Ilkley Gazette, Wharfedale & Airedale Observer and the Keighley News.

The whole of Keighley and Ilkley reporting staff, bar one trainee, are being proposed for redundancy; all photographers except the Craven Herald photographer and a trainee are at risk of losing their jobs, along with two editors, senior editorial staff and newsdesk staff.

Having already taken a decision to ballot for industrial arond the closure of the pensions scheme, the chapel are holding an emergency chapel meeting tonight to decide on their response to this latest attack.

Chris Morley, NUJ northern regional organiser, said:

"There seems no depths to which Newsquest will go to damage its own titles and put at risk the livelihoods of our members. There is already huge anger being generated by the treadmill of cuts from a permanent pay freeze to arrogant closure of the final salary pension scheme, but this has gone down like a lead balloon with our members at Newsquest's Bradford centre.
"We shall fight these unrealistic proposals in every way we can."

Bob Smith, Father of Chapel at both Newsquest Bradford and the UK-wide Newsquest group chapel, said:

"Newsquest's reward for loyal journalists who have endured a pay freeze lasting more than 1,000 days and the closure of their pension scheme, is to throw them on the scrap heap. These proposed redundancies are the latest kick in the teeth for journalists working for a company that has lost the plot.
"Chief executive Paul Davidson sits in his Surrey ivory tower with his enhanced pension and £106,000 pay rise, while his managers steer a course for oblivion. Newsquest Bradford's group editor Perry Austin-Clarke attempts to justify the job cuts by saying the sales performance of paid-for weekly titles are disappointing. And his answer is to cut further the number of skilled journalists working on those titles."
"In his statement to staff, Mr Austin-Clarke said: 'There is clearly a great deal of synergy between all the newspapers [the Keighley News, Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Observer, Telegraph & Argus] covering these areas and we believe we can provide far more efficient coverage by merging our resources there.'
"The weeklies will lose their individual identities and readers will be served more poorly. It is obvious to all but our managers where this will lead. Newsquest is putting the future of these venerable publications at risk.
"To pretend that the Keighley News and Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Observer serve the same audience is to live in cloud cuckoo land. Keighley and Ilkley are like chalk and cheese, separated by the expanse of Ilkley Moor – they are worlds apart, one a genteel former spa town and the other a post-industrial former mill town with high unemployment and social problems."
"The chapel will fight these job cuts tooth and nail. We intend to ballot for industrial action both to resist these unnecessary redundancies and to gain a pay rise for our beleaguered members."

Tags: , terms and conditions, yorkshire, newsquest, newspapers, cuts, redundancies, pensions, telegraph & argus, ilkley gazette, keighley news, local newspapers, pay freeze, bradford, wharfedale observer