England

Redundancies begin at newspaper company Archant Norfolk

Thirteen editorial staff at newspaper publisher Archant Norfolk have been handed redundancy notices.

Photographers, sub-editors, features and sports writers are among those who have lost their jobs.

In April the Norwich-based publisher announced it was cutting posts in order to invest in its digital operation.

Initial proposals were for up to 20 job losses but after negotiations with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) the redundancy plans have been scaled back.

Other redundancies will follow but some of those losing their jobs will be able to apply for other newsroom roles.

No confidence

A month ago NUJ members voted for a ballot on industrial action in protest at the redundancy plans, claiming they would damage the quality of titles including the Eastern Daily Press and Evening News.

Later, staff passed an unofficial "no confidence" vote in editorial director James Foster.

But Pete Kelley, the NUJ's father of chapel at Archant Norfolk, said the union had now reached a settlement with the company.

He said several additional posts had now been opened to staff, reducing the net number of jobs lost to about 10.

"We have always recognised that the company is in a tough situation," he said.

Circulation growth

"We have still got reservations about this but we feel they have tried to listen and we have come to a compromise figure."

He said the NUJ accepted there were some positive features to the editorial review, including the creation of "community editor" roles and making better use of technology to allow reporters to spend more time on their patches.

"We are expecting the company to deliver on that," he added.

Mr Foster said the company had increased the number of reporters in head office and district offices.

"I am pleased to say that we were able to achieve an agreement with the NUJ which was backed overwhelmingly by our staff," he said.

"Our titles are showing year-on-year circulation growth and we are determined to protect that.

"But we also have to recognise the climate in which we are operating and we will be ensuring the long-term stability of the company by the measures we have taken."

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