Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Union anger over paper job cuts

The Eastern Daily Press
The Eastern Daily Press is one of Archant's 50 titles

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has hit out at newspaper publisher Archant Norfolk's proposed job cuts.

More than 50 jobs out of 179 are being cut by the media group at its daily and weekly titles in Norfolk, which include the Eastern Daily Press.

The announcement was made to staff at a meeting on Friday afternoon.

Pete Kelley, NUJ chapel committee spokesman, said staff felt the "current economic downturn is being used as an excuse to slash staffing levels".

'Decimated'

He said: "We thought possibly 20 to 30 might be affected, but the scale of the announcement has left everybody stunned... we fail to understand the disproportionate scale of the cuts here.

"Decimated is an over-used word...The Romans used to take out one in 10.

"Romans themselves would have been shocked by the scale of these proposals, which wipe out almost one third of our editorial department."

Mr Kelley said the NUJ had called a chapel meeting for Monday at which industrial action would be considered.

'Tough decisions'

Archant, which recently cut jobs at other newspapers in East Anglia, made the announcement to staff at a meeting.

Workers were first made aware of potential job losses in November, when an editorial review was announced and staff were asked to fill in time-sheets for a week to record their daily tasks.

Stephan Phillips, managing director of Archant Norfolk, said the newspaper sector was "not immune to the general downturn in the economy".

"We have to make tough decisions about staffing levels like many other businesses," he said.

"We regret we now have to look at our editorial numbers and will enter into a consultation period with the staff involved."



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