Reach journalists voice anger over proposed job cuts

  • 13 Jan 2023

The Reach Group Chapel has passed a motion highlighting the anger and frustration from journalists at the company, following proposed job cuts in editorial posts.

Journalists at the publisher of titles including The Mirror, Express, Irish Star, Birmingham Mail, Manchester Evening News, Bristol Post and Liverpool Echo have expressed their dismay following a decision to cut 102 editorial roles at the company.  

Despite cuts to posts in recent months, Reach announced earlier this week 253 editorial roles would be placed at risk. Plans come amid expansion in the United States with staff in the UK now facing a fight to save jobs.

The motion agreed at a formal meeting of the NUJ Reach Group Chapel reads: 

This group chapel is dismayed that Reach plc is proposing to axe 102 editorial positions across the group having already shed hundreds of journalist roles over the last few months. The attack on core frontline jobs is viewed as akin to industrial vandalism.

Our members are angry and frustrated that positive moves forward following the settlement of the pay dispute and strike last year have been overshadowed and undermined by a planned widespread cull of jobs that are essential to the success of the company’s business model.

Inexplicably, front line roles – especially photographers and digital reporters – are being targeted in the face of the company’s professed business model to build a sustainable digital operation with quality journalism and original content at its core.

The planned wipe out of professional photography in many places within the group removes at a stroke what has been a mainstay of journalistic craft for more than a century and will surely be regretted in the years to come.

At least 22 reporter jobs and 13 photographer roles are in line to be cut, although the full extent is not yet known, along with other digital and social media based posts.

However, the effect of these plans will be significantly compounded because of the large numbers of journalists who have already left the company through two trawls for voluntary redundancies in the last six months and wholesale deletion of vacancies.

All this is being done as the company lavishes cash on establishing a new US operation that is in effect being paid for by the jobs of others within Reach. It seems certain that the outcome of these latest cutbacks will be to reduce the creation of original content through industrial scale content sharing between titles - and more onerous workloads for those that remain.

NUJ chapels are still assessing the potential damage to be inflicted on local operations, but members are clear that compulsory redundancies are unacceptable and will be vigorously challenged.

The company has made much of the importance of good mental health for its employees, but the pressures and stress for those who remain that will be created from the loss of good colleagues through redundancies can only be increased.

We will be working hard in the many consultation processes underway to ensure that NUJ members are protected as much as possible and that every way to eliminate or reduce the need for redundancy is pursued.

We will be scrutinising the company’s proposals and fully consulting with members as to next steps.

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