NUJ calls for no compulsory redundancies at JPIMedia

  • 14 Sep 2020

The company said it expected the overall reduction in editorial staffing to be between 20 and 30, as part of restructuring.

Journalists working for JPIMedia have called on their employer to commit to working with the NUJ to ensure that a planned restructuring and job cuts do not lead to compulsory redundancies.

Reps from the JPIMedia NUJ Group Chapel wrote to the regional publisher, whose titles include the Scotsman, the Newsletter and The Yorkshire Post, with a number of requests relating to the plans announced. During a series of briefings last week, the company said it wanted to cut the number of journalists working in four teams, Advanced Content Hub, Scotland small titles, Community Sport and Design, by 48 full-time equivalents.

Those in the affected teams were told they had until noon today to apply for one of 24 new roles being created, which would be advertised internally only. A further nine jobs are to be advertised both internally and externally.

Journalists were told that taking into account redeployment into these roles, the company expects the overall reduction in editorial staffing to be between 20 and 30.

Georgina Morris, lead rep for the group chapel, said:

"The news of up to 30 job cuts has caused huge upset and anxiety, particularly for the 150 or so journalists working in the teams directly affected. While everyone was still reeling from that announcement, we then learned JPIMedia had £22m in cash reserves – via an email confirming the company was up for sale again.
"It has been difficult for people to reconcile the job cuts in light of those reserves, and more than one reference has been made to the #therewithyou pledge carried on our papers' mastheads after the pandemic began. Our priority now is to work with the company to ensure there are no compulsory redundancies, something which we would strongly resist.
"We very much welcome the offer of discussions with NUJ officials and reps at both national and local level this week, and hope to have more positive news to report back to our members afterwards."

The group chapel has called on the company to review the voluntary redundancy terms being offered, which are less favourable than previous schemes. It has also put forward a number of proposals around supporting existing staff into the new roles and other vacancies.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

"At this incredibly difficult time, we want the company to acknowledge the loyalty and hard work of staff by ensuring those who choose to leave, do so on the best terms. The double whammy of hearing about job cuts and the company being up for sale again has hit people hard. Staff now need proper time and information to make decisions about what they want to do next."

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