NUJ Irish Executive Council supports Mediahuis staff

  • 25 Jan 2024

The council has vowed unwavering support for Mediahuis staff, after the company announced up to 30 editorial redundancies in Ireland.

Mediahuis said earlier this week that it was implementing a reduction in headcount as part of a pivot towards digital output.

Speaking on behalf of the council after its meeting this afternoon, Cearbhall Ó Síocháin, IEC Cathaoirleach, said:

“In this era of digital misinformation, newsrooms need more journalists – not fewer – if they are going to be able to fact check information, stories and audio-visual output. Media organisations cannot continue with these never-ending rounds of personnel cuts, if they want to continue to provide reliable news and information as a public service to readers, listeners and viewers.

“During the Covid pandemic, when misinformation was rife, the public turned to local and national newspapers, radio stations and tv, for accurate information in that time of crisis. Has that lesson been so easily forgotten?

“The titles now owned by Mediahuis have seen countless rounds of redundancies under the current and previous owners over the past 15 years. Today the IEC sends the message to Mediahuis – and indeed all media companies – enough is enough!

“The Irish Executive Council and the NUJ’s Irish Office will offer every support they can to our members in Mediahuis, whether they are in Dublin, Belfast or in the regions.”

Ian McGuinness, NUJ Irish organiser , said:

“The fact that the reduction in headcount will, in the first instance, be done via voluntary redundancy, job sharing, or reduced hours, will be cold comfort to many of those who remain working in Mediahuis’s titles, whose workload – already unmanageable – will undoubtedly spiral out of control.

“Referring to the company’s pivot towards digital, Peter Vandermeersch, Mediahuis Chief Executive, said this week that the company wants to repair its roof while the sun is shining and not wait for the storm. However, the NUJ’s view on this is clear that more staff – not less – are needed for increased digital output. Further staffing cuts are more likely to cause the roof to cave in.

“The NUJ’s concern is for the health and safety of the journalists who remain working for Mediahuis. If 15 years of cuts in the media industry have taught us one thing, it is that these redundancies result in bigger workloads, longer hours and higher stress levels for the journalists who continue working after the cuts have been implemented.

“The company has also hinted that if it does not get the reduction in headcount that it wants, it might move to compulsory redundancies. I would urge the company to think very carefully before going down that particular route.”

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