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Richard Desmond urged to think again on cuts

28 March 2012

The NUJ has called on Richard Desmond to think again about job cuts and £5 million savings plan at four newspapers.

The NUJ chapel at Express Newspapers met on Tuesday 27 March to discuss the cuts announcement and passed the following motion:

"This chapel rejects management's proposals for job losses and seven day operations in certain sections across the Express and Star titles.
"Richard Desmond presented himself to a Commons Select Committee as a responsible publisher but we deny that he can be any such thing when he is prepared to run four profitable national newspapers down to a point where they will no longer present value for the reader.
"We do not believe that Express Newspapers should be affected by the allegedly disappointing performance of the Health Lottery, one of the reasons given verbally to NUJ representatives for the cuts.
"We are also ashamed to see management seemingly running up the white flag and capitulating to the Murdoch empire's price war; another reason given for the proposed redundancies.
"We demand that Mr Desmond not only lays out a plan for the future of the titles but that he ends the four-year pay freeze and grants his employees a long-overdue rise."

The cuts outlined so far include:

  • CITY: To cease publication of all weekly City pages while retaining the Wednesday and Sunday finance sections.
  • SPORT: Combining the sports desks for both daily titles at the London office.
  • PROPERTY: Combining the Sunday and daily titles.
  • MOTORING: Combining across all titles.
  • TRAVEL: A combined travel desk across all titles sharing free copy with all sub-editing to cease in London and be undertaken at another office in the company.
  • STAFF: Under the proposals, London is in line to lose 27 staff positions and the equivalent of 18 long-term casual positions; Glasgow will lose 12 staff and six casuals; and Broughton will lose two staff and 10 casuals.

The NUJ is also warning the management at Northern & Shell that its decision to cut almost a third of its staff in the Scottish office, at a time when it should be increasing its service to readers in Scotland, is madness.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:

"We are not surprised by Richard Desmond's greedy cuts for profit strategy. Desmond does not care for media jobs or quality journalism. Our industry needs investment and growth – not media barons like Richard Desmond who use the media to fill their own pockets and take away people's livelihoods."

Tags: , express newspapers, richard desmond, newspapers, cuts, express, daily star