NUJ suggests viable future for Black Country Bugle
25 May 2016
The NUJ has argued for a series of alternative proposals to save the Black Country Bugle during a meeting with company representatives on Tuesday 24 May. Trinity Mirror has proposed three redundancies and the closure of the current Bugle office at the Dudley Archives. They intend to retain two journalists working remotely with production and editorial oversight based in Tamworth.
The union is expecting the company to make decisions about the future of the title over the next few days.
The union has been told the changes to the title are part of a cost-cutting exercise. The alternative proposals put forward by the NUJ include exploring a range of efficiency savings in the first instance, developing commercial opportunities for growth, reducing the expenditure on existing print contracts, and reducing the office rental costs without having to force journalists to travel the 64-mile round trip to Tamworth.
The NUJ has also highlighted the option to change ownership of the title and the union is currently awaiting confirmation that Trinity Mirror is willing to consider this option. The NUJ is aware of at least two expressions of interest from local publishers who may be in a position to offer a better outcome for the Bugle and its staff.
The NUJ believes the right buyer or a change of company strategy could give the appropriate care and attention the Bugle needs for a sustainable future based on sound investment and incremental steps to prosperity.
The union is hopeful that the company will seriously consider all the alternative NUJ proposals.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser, said:
"The NUJ has now submitted its ideas for safeguarding the Black Country Bugle with a sustainable future.
"We want an outcome that keeps the core editorial staff together with the paper remaining in the Black Country – what is an unmistakable essential requirement.
"We now know that there are two potential buyers that have made approaches to the company. The NUJ reserves judgment on these expressions of interest until we know what plans they might have and what credentials they bring.
"However, staying within the Trinity Mirror group as a viable entity is still possible – something the NUJ is actively seeking to assist with. Heavy-handed cost-cutting will not produce the outcome that is needed and I am pleased that the company, from chief executive Simon Fox down, are telling us that all options and alternatives are being carefully considered.
"We understand that the company’s position will become clearer in the next few days and before we meet with them again on Thursday next week."