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Shropshire Newspapers staff threaten action over lack of answers

22 January 2009

Journalists in Shropshire are threatening to ballot for industrial action if their management don't answer questions about job cuts. The decision was taken at a packed Shropshire Newspapers NUJ meeting last night – where five new recruits joined the union.

Their parent company, Midland News Association, is looking for 70 compulsory redundancies, but will not say how many are planned in editorial.

NUJ members want a full disclosure of information so any consultations will be meaningful. They want to be able to draw up alternatives to cutting jobs.

The chapel will trigger a ballot for industrial action if management have not replied by close of play on Monday or if any NUJ member is given notice putting them at risk of redundancy.

David Burrows, NUJ father of the Shropshire Newspapers chapel, said:

"We are disappointed that almost two weeks after it was announced that the company was entering into compulsory redundancies, there is still uncertainty surrounding the fate of the editorial departments on the Shropshire Star and Shropshire Newspapers' weekly titles.
"We have asked the company to respond promptly to a series of questions we have put to them and should they fail to do so we will, regretfully, be forced to ballot our members over industrial action."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern Organiser, said:

"The Shropshire Newspapers chapel's patience has snapped with the fear of redundancy being held over them since the original announcement by the group of 135 job losses in October.
"There is a good deal of anger that management have not come clean over their intentions for editorial and may look to bundle people out of the door in an underhand way. The chapel will not allow that to happen without opposition.
"The stand the chapel is taking is designed to preserve the future of their newspapers from a slash and burn mentality that has taken over many other companies in the industry.
"The company's latest official accounts reveal that bosses say 'producing a quality product' is the way to beat risks to circulation. Cutting journalists' jobs is not the way to achieve this."

Tags: , midland news association, newspapers, cuts, confidentiality, redundancies, shropshire newspapers, shropshire star