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NUJ angry at Huddersfield Examiner office closure

9 May 2013

The NUJ chapel at the Huddersfield Examiner are angry at the planned closure by Trinity Mirror of the town centre office that means there will be no place where the public can drop in to speak to anyone from the paper face to face.

The planned closure may involve job cuts and the office is due to close on Friday 17 May.

The chapel concerns were put in a letter to the editor Roy Wright:

Dear Roy,

Chapel members would like to make it known that they strongly oppose the closure of the town centre office.

We believe the move will only nurture the feeling that the Examiner is quickly becoming 'out of sight and out of mind' to many in the community. No town centre office, no print hall, no bright orange Examiner vans zipping about town and no visible staff? The few remaining employees are in a HQ tucked away out of sight to the majority of our readers. This is clearly at odds with the statements of Mark Hollinshead, who said he wanted Trinity Mirror papers to be close to their communities.

The Chapel acknowledges the town centre office may be unsustainable but would like to know if the company has considered other cheaper options to retain a presence in our own town? Suggestions from NUJ members include one of the secure units in Queensgate Market or a smaller cheaper shop elsewhere in the town centre. The market could provide an excellent platform for promotions at the core of the town centre. The paper would be seen as helping to revive the market and encouraging much-needed small enterprise . . . unlike all those other companies abandoning the heart of town simply to save costs.

The Chapel opposes the four compulsory redundancies.

If the John William Street office must close the Chapel would like to see staff redeployed, either at new premises as suggested, or at the Bradley office. No face-to-face facilities for members of the public have been proposed by the company. This means people will inevitably now travel to the Bradley HQ where there are no staff available to help them. This will further alienate our declining readership and most likely hasten our demise. It is also likely to increase the pressure on an already over-stressed editorial department.

This office has no facilities for the public but it could be adapted to do so at relatively low cost, while saving some face for a paper that appears to be abandoning its own town.

Regards, NUJ Chapel

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands Organiser said:

"While this planned closure does not directly affect NUJ members in terms of lost jobs, it does fill our members with real anxiety. Not only do they feel solidarity with those whose jobs have been put on the line, but they also fear that their readers will take this as a signal that Trinity Mirror is giving up on Huddersfield.
"No consultation is being done with the town or Examiner readers and if the company had the courage of its convictions this should be done before any final decision is taken. By swinging the axe in this way, there will be no company premises that the public can meet an Examiner journalist – or any other member of staff for that matter – face to face. This is yet another example of the disastrous prevailing cuts policy that is divorcing local and regional newspapers from their communities.
"Being out-of-town and out of the way with offices on industrial estates, these titles are also becoming out of reach and out of mind for their readers."

Tags: , closure, trinity mirror, newspapers, regional newspapers