NUJ censures Archant Suffolk for unfair redundancy plans
3 February 2012
The NUJ has condemned the management of Archant Suffolk, owner of the Ipswich Evening Star and the East Anglian Daily Times, for failing to engage in proper negotiations with the union over redundancies.
There are plans to change the Star from a six-day-a-week to a five-day-a-week operation, in order to cut costs. The management had originally intended to cut the 91-member workforce by 14, however, it is now expected that the redundancy figure will be slightly lower.
Morale among the staff is at rock bottom and the NUJ said that it has been the management's refusal to abide by the house agreement, which says that negotiation with the union should take place when redundancies occur, that has made a bad situation much worse. The management has now also refused to recognise the chapel's request to enter negotiations under formal Avoidance of Dispute procedures. The NUJ is challenging the management's selection criteria for the redundancies.
The union's chapel had suggested that it would have made more sense to lose two senior posts, rather than reporters' jobs, but this has been ignored.
Sarah Chambers, NUJ Mother of Chapel, said:
"We are being hit by yet another wave of redundancies. It is getting to the point where it is unsustainable. The journalists here are doing their best to do a professional job, but the management is making it very difficult for us to provide a good service to our readers. We are particularly concerned that the Father of Chapel, Malcolm Grubb, has been targeted for redundancy."
Fiona Swarbrick, NUJ national organiser, said:
"The NUJ wants the best for the staff and the newspapers and that is why it is vital that Archant Suffolk management enters into proper negotiations with us about the business's future. If jobs are to go, the process must be fair. We are not satisfied with the selection criteria, however the management has refused our offers to negotiate or to go to ACAS, the arbitration service. We feel as if we are banging our heads against a wall. This is not how industrial relations should be run."