Journalists working for newspapers in Sheffield are preparing to ballot against job losses. Eight page production roles have been targeted at the Johnston Press division covering North Midlands and South Yorkshire.
Five of those work for the Sheffield Star and Telegraph, where the ballot is due to take place. The justification is a change in working practices as the papers are being relaunched. Two chief photographers in Sheffield and Doncaster are also targeted to go.
Consultation between management and the National Union of Journalists was starting this week, as the company's cutbacks to enable it it to pay its £350 million debt to the banks has also seen it announce a 15 per cent cuts in journalists' jobs in Leeds and another 3.6 newsroom posts going in Portsmouth.
In other non-unionised parts of the company, the latest cuts have been severe: advert preparation work is being outsourced to India, losing at least 60 jobs across the company, and at Sheffield alone, 10 out of the 21 advertising staff are to go.
NUJ convenor in Sheffield, Julia Armstrong, said, 'We already passed a motion of no confidence in our management after they axed one editor and deputy editor, because hard-pressed staff have to take on the work they do, and the latest redundancies were the last straw. The anger and demoralisation are huge.
'The company expects us to pay the price with our jobs for its poor investment decisions that have left it hock to the banks, who have just upped the interest rates on their loans. It's getting so that people dread Fridays, as that's when our MD keeps announcing job losses.'