Reach NUJ group chapel statement

  • 14 Nov 2023

The chapel has expressed no confidence in the company’s senior leaders, following the publisher's announcement to cut hundreds of jobs.

Reach plc’s announcement that it is seeking to cut 450 jobs – 320 of them in editorial – is the single worst reduction of journalist roles in the UK publication industry for decades.

Reach NUJ group chapel is dismayed that it is the third set of mass redundancies undertaken by the company in 2023 and believes that the cull of jobs is not consistent with the company’s stated aim of commitment to quality journalism.

With constant job insecurity feeding uncertainty for Reach journalists and their families, the evident failure of the company’s digital strategy is taking a huge toll on employees’ mental health – particularly given the hectic end of year period and the forthcoming Christmas festivities. This reinforces the feeling of disillusionment felt by Reach’s failure to deliver a promised fair and agreed Career Progression Framework that would provide decent pay for the difficult job journalists do.

NUJ reps are reporting a high degree of anger among members for the actions being undertaken by company chiefs and NUJ chapels therefore reserve the right to ballot for industrial action. All options are open.

While publishing market conditions are difficult, the collapse of Reach’s digital income in 2023 – now expected by analysts to be £21m less than last year – is a disaster that no one in senior management is taking responsibility for.

We note that Reach shareholders tomorrow (Wednesday 15th) will gather for a general meeting to decide on a motion that will help provide them with annual dividends in the coming years, irrespective of trading difficulties. No such reassurances are given to Reach staff – many of whom face a bleak winter out of work.

Reach NUJ group chapel condemns the stewardship of the business and has no confidence in the leadership of Jim Mullen or the company’s senior leaders. We strongly urge non-executive board members and shareholders to take note of this judgment and consider their position on the existing executive team in light of it.

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