NUJNational Union of Journalists (NUJ) deputy general secretary, Barry Fitzpatrick, has expressed concern over the redundancy announcements from the regional newspaper group Johnston Press.

At the NUJ website he highlights the ‘draconian’ loan terms:

“Already there are serious issues over workload and the pace at which digital change is being imposed. Revenue migration to digital remains disappointing and seems to be driven by a mistaken belief that it will come right in the end.

“The root cause of this crisis is the scale of the group’s indebtedness and the draconian terms under which the banks including RBS have structured the loans.

“Given the responsibility that the banks have for the loans it is time that the terms were reviewed so that instead of strangling the company the money can be used to restore the trading performance and allow for real growth.”

At the start of the week, JP announced an enhanced voluntary redundancy programme as it looks to step up its cost-cutting drive.

Staff have been given a period of 26 days – until October 25 – to apply for the new package, the details of which have not been released. It will apply to most areas of the business, excluding advertising and digital.

The total number of people employed by Johnston Press, whose titles include the Yorkshire Post, Lancashire Evening Post and Blackpool Gazette, stood at 4,350 at the end of 2012, a 23.1% drop year on year. In 2006 it employed 7,849 people.