Staff on titles including the Liverpool Echo, Newcastle Journal and North Wales Daily Post are to take industrial action this week in protest at a “merry-go-round of misery” they say has been created by publisher Trinity Mirror.
Staff in the North East and North Wales will hold two-hour disruptive mandatory chapel meetings today, with Echo staff taking similar action tomorrow.
The NUJ said the staff were taking action in response to “redundancies, heavy workloads and the threat to quality journalism caused by the company-wide restructuring”.
A statement from the Newcastle and North Wales chapels said: “Members of the NUJ chapels at Trinity Mirror’s centres in North Wales and Newcastle are taking industrial action today, prompted by concerns arising from recent changes in our newsrooms.
“Recent redundancies in Newcastle and the failure to fill vacant positions at both centres have resulted in increased workloads and pressure piled on existing staff, which in turn has an impact on the quality of the journalism we produce.
“These changes, coupled with the fact that we are now all working in a figures-driven environment, are having an impact on our ability to produce the high standards of journalism our newspapers and websites are known for, and our ability to serve our readers and communities.”
The statement continued: “The decision to take industrial action is not one that is taken lightly by the loyal, committed and highly motivated journalists that make up these chapels, but it is a decision our members feel necessary given the growing concerns about the future of our newsrooms.”
Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands organiser, said the action was meant “as a strong message to the company which is pushing through a strategy that is simply not taking our members with them”.
MPs have also signed an early day motion saying they “deplored the announcement from Trinity Mirror that it will be scrapping eight jobs at the North Wales newspaper, the Daily Post, including its only reporter based at the National Assembly for Wales”.
Trinity Mirror has pointed out to us though that it will also be creating six jobs in North Wales and that consultations regarding those plans are “ongoing”.
Trinity Mirror North Wales publishes the Daily Post, North Wales Weekly News, Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald, Flintshire Chronicle and Holyhead and Bangor Anglesey Mails.