Ad sales fall blamed for workforce cuts at Express & Star

By Sarah Lagan

Journalists at the Wolverhampton Express & Star and its associated weeklies are still waiting to enter into consultation after the family-owned business announced it is to make up to 70 staff redundant.

Voluntary redundancies are being sought, but compulsory job losses will be considered. Fifty of the redundancies will be at the Express & Star, amounting to around 5 per cent of the workforce.

With no union recognition at the company, any negotiating with management will be through the Express & Star and Chronicle chapel staff council.

Owner Midland News Association announced to staff that it had been forced to begin a "package of cost-saving measures aimed at combating poor trading conditions". Falling advertising revenues, particularly situations vacant, were blamed for the need to cut overheads.

Managing director Alan Harris said there were no signs of the situation improving immediately.

Father of Chapel John Corser said: "The Star has a reputation as being a family-run business.

"The company has expressed sadness at having to take the measure.

"We haven’t been informed about the impact on editorial. Members are being kept in touch with what is going on and we are seeking advice from the national officers on what steps we can take.

"It looks as though the 70 redundancies are set in stone. We would hope we didn’t have a situation where there are a large number of compulsory redundancies."

The company implemented its pay review before the redundancies.

The Express & Star has a high volume of journalists in its eight district offices, believed to be more than double that of the Birmingham Mail.

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