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Welsh assembly to investigate media job cuts

26 July 2011

The Welsh Assembly is to launch an investigation later this year in response to widespread job cuts in newspapers and broadcasting. A task group will be established in September to look at 'emerging and future issues' faced by the media. 

The move reflects efforts by an all-party group of Assembly members to set up the inquiry. These efforts were coordinated by the NUJ with the help of Plaid Cymru heritage spokeswoman, Bethan Jenkins.

MPs had tabled a House of Commons motion condemning plans from Trinity Mirror to make 22 journalists redundant at Media Wales in Cardiff.

Trinity-Mirror subsidiary, Media Wales, publishes the Western Mail, the South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday and a series of weekly titles. The company claims the cuts are a direct consequence of a huge downturn in advertising revenue since the beginning of the year. Jobs are also going from other departments of the newspapers.

Martin Shipton, NUJ Media Wales FoC, said:

"The Welsh economy is heavily dependent on the public sector, and there is no doubt that spending cuts imposed by the UK government have resulted in an unprecedented drop in revenue from recruitment and retail advertisers.
"We are seriously concerned about the future of the company and, as part of the redundancy consultation process, have called on the management to develop a rescue plan for the future in conjunction with the NUJ.
"The company has provided us with financial information on a confidential basis that has led us to reject industrial action as a realistic option at this time. Instead, we are working to achieve the best possible outcome in the circumstances, both for those who will be leaving the company and those who will remain."

Under the proposal, some production jobs would go part-time, with work concentrated at peak hours towards the end of the day. There would be a reduction of eight full-time equivalent posts in production. Ten district jobs would go plus four from the sports department.

A House of Commons motion sponsored by Hywel Francis, Aberavon Labour MP, states:

That this House is shocked at the announcement by Media Wales that it is to cut 22 jobs across its publications in Wales; notes that the proposals by Media Wales management would see 10 district office staff, eight production journalists and four members of the sports staff made redundant; further notes that these cuts are proposed whilst the Chief Executive of Trinity Mirror, the parent company of Media Wales, received £1.7 m remuneration in 2010; supports the National Union of Journalists campaign to protect jobs, wages and conditions as well as the quality of Media Wales journalism; and calls on Media Wales management to meet the National Union of Journalists as a matter of urgency in order to protect jobs and the quality of journalism in Wales.

Tags: , newspapers, broadcasting, media wales, cuts, economy, trinity mirror, local newspapers, regional media, regional newspapers, assembly wales, parliament uk, edm, western mail, south wales echo, wales on sunday