NUJ slams National World job cuts

  • 14 Jun 2023

The union’s Newspaper and Agencies Industrial Council has called the move a ‘cynical attempt to undermine and destabilise staff.’

Publisher National World announced this week that journalists’ jobs are at risk of redundancy. The National Union of Journalists has received confirmation from the company that Monday’s announcement relates to 25 full time equivalent roles that are to be closed and 14 roles available for redeployment.

The union estimates 46 editorial staff are at risk and potentially 11 individuals will be left without roles. Further information on numbers is being sought from the publisher.

In a statement, the NUJ National World Group chapel said:

“Our members are extremely angry about the proposed redundancies and associated restructuring, not least because the company does not appear to have fully thought through how the changes will work in practice. We have significant concerns about the wellbeing of members in the teams where cuts are proposed and fail to see how forcing out experienced staff will help the company to reach its goals for audience growth.

“The group chapel is alarmed to hear about the pace at which the company is seeking to complete the consultation process, with reports of some affected staff having less than 24 hours to prepare for their initial consultation meetings after receiving the notification letters. This is no way to treat people who are already in a highly stressful situation.

“The decision to make these redundancy announcements has come in the same week that the company issued our members with an ultimatum on pay - accept the 4.5% offered by June 30 or forfeit backpay to the April 1 review date. It is disgraceful that they would take this approach, particularly when the lack of progress to date is entirely down to their refusal to enter into any meaningful talks at local or national level.”

Laura Davison, NUJ national newspaper organiser, said:

“The news of job cuts came out of the blue to National World members and has left them feeling shocked and angry. It is only a matter of days since the company sat in pay negotiation meetings with reps and said that increasing this year's pay offer could put jobs at risk. There has been no increase and now jobs are at risk anyway.

“It’s only a matter of weeks since the company’s annual shareholder meeting where it emerged that £1.36 million will be paid out to shareholders early next month; it is only a matter of weeks since the company made significant new acquisitions and claimed it will acquire more. Trebles all round at the top while the company's failure to meaningfully engage with members' concerns for months over low pay, unfair pay discrepancies and page view targets has now been compounded by seeing valued and respected colleagues facing redundancy.

“Initial scrutiny of these proposals shows they are flawed and damaging to the business and its staff. We are pressing the business to rethink them and consulting with members about the company’s blunt threat to end backdating of the pay settlement unless it’s accepted.”

The NUJ Newspaper and Agencies Industrial Council said:

"The NUJ Newspaper and Agencies Industrial Council sends support and solidarity to journalists at National World now facing redundancies. The company's move to put jobs at risk appears to be a cynical attempt to undermine and destabilise staff fighting to improve a derisory, below-inflation pay offer.

"By threatening to refuse to backdate a pay deal unless imposed terms are agreed very soon, the company risks further damaging morale and shows how little it respects the staff generating its profits."

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