Nearly 100 journalists at risk of redundancy across Johnston Press – Scotland and N Ireland worst hit
Press Gazette, by William Turvill
Nearly 100 editorial jobs are set to go at Johnston Press in the latest round of cuts.
Some 32 jobs are believed to be at risk of redundancy in Scotland, up to 13 in Northern Ireland, ten in the North East and eight in the North West.
Staff have been given until 29 January to apply for voluntary redundancy.
According to the National Union of Journalists, 15 jobs will be at risk at Johnston Press’s production hubs in Edinburgh and Peterborough, with some jobs being transferred to Sheffield.
And the union said 22 editor, content editor and deputy positions are also set to go.
It said unfilled vacancies in some areas will count towards the total number of redundancies. For example, there are no reporter cuts expected in the south, but four vacancies in Portsmouth will not be filled.
A statement from the NUJ group chapel, which is holding a meeting on Thursday to discuss the job losses, said: "Friday’s announcement has caused panic among our members. It is very difficult to see how the company can continue to function after yet more editorial job cuts. The lack of consultation also raises concerns that this could be to make short-term savings which will ultimately be self-defeating. Newsrooms around the company are already carrying high levels of staff vacancies and we hope the company is fully aware of this. Meaningful talks need to happen as a matter of urgency and our members should be involved in any decisions about possible restructuring."
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "This is devastating news to begin 2016 with. Members are already stretched to cover gaps as a result of jobs not being filled last year and previous rounds of cuts. There are big concerns about the content that can realistically be produced under such straightened circumstances. The pressure to meet financial targets appears to be influencing internal decisions, alongside the slowing down of digital advertising revenue growth. We would like an open discussion with the company about why they have taken this decision and what has prompted this announcement. We need a meaningful consultation with our members about the way forward. There needs to be a proper plan. We need a strong local press with journalists able to do the job they came into it to do."
Paul Holleran, NUJ Scotland national organiser, said: "It would be an understatement to say that journalists across Johnston Press are shocked at this latest round of job cuts. The union will work with local management to mitigate the redundancies and their impact on the quality of titles but we are seriously concerned at this announcement."
A Johnston Press spokesperson said: "The figures quoted by the NUJ are worst case scenario and we will only know the outcome after the consultation period. No decisions have been made on vacant roles in Portsmouth."