Archant yesterday announced a reduction in the number of jobs losses expected at its Norfolk division.
The company said it was making ‘good progress’in its consultation over editorial job losses in the region, which were announced last month, and had reduced the number of editorial job losses from 23 to 18.
It also claimed that under its proposals it would add four more reporters.
The announcement came on the same day that NUJ members passed a vote of no confidence in Archant Norfolk editorial director James Foster and threatened the company with industrial action.
A letter sent to Archant Norfolk managing director Jonathan Hustler by NUJ members said: ‘It is an ongoing concern among the representatives that the management team, as led by James, is simply and continually failing to communicate the thinking behind the new structure and how, given the reduction in numbers, titles will continue to be produced and staffed in a manageable way.
‘Because of this breakdown, elected representatives can no longer progress in any meaningful negotiations with James following the no-confidence vote.”
It went on: ‘We feel the company’s proposals, as set out, will not only be letting our readers down, but also our paying advertisers who rely on us to produce a high quality product they wish to be associated with.
‘Journalism is a people-based business and we all care passionately about the titles we produce.
“There is a serious risk that by pressing ahead with these proposals the company is ignoring that fact and creating a conveyor-belt culture where there is no time or resources to give over to the quality of the products being produced.”
NUJ members insisted they did ‘not wish to go down a road that involves unnecessary conflict”.
Yesterday evening Foster issued the following statement: ‘We were clear at the start of the consultation process that we were committed to listening to the editorial teams.
‘We also said that no reporters were at risk during the process.
‘Thanks to the feedback we have had from staff, we have reviewed our plans and in fact increased the number of reporters by four.
‘We now move into the next stage of our consultation process.”