Regional newspaper publisher Archant is pushing ahead with plans to cut eight sub-editor jobs at its flagship Ipswich centre, the home of the Ipswich Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times, according to the National Union of Journalists.
The NUJ has condemned the move which will see production staff across the Archant Suffolk titles cut from 26 to 18. The job cuts will be part of a voluntary redundancy scheme and the company is not currently looking to make compulsory cuts.
In March it was announced that there could be up to 20 redundancies out of a pool of advertising and production staff at Archant Suffolk.
Press Gazette has learned that under a new process that starts in June, page editors, who have full editorial skills and experience, will work alongside page designers with ‘high-level design skills but without editorial experience”.
The designers will mostly be advert design staff and according to the union will earn £7,500 less a year than their trained sub-editor colleagues. The company is looking to hire a head of editorial production, with a salary of around £40,000 – according to one source at the paper.
Reporters and section editors will be involved in writing headlines and captions while page designers look after putting pages together.
Press Gazette understands from an insider that under the new system each page editor will be expected to handle six pages per shift and page designers will deal with nine pages each.
Archant Suffolk managing director Stuart McCreery was unavailable for comment but has defended the reorganisation and denied that pages will be subbed by non-journalists.
Martin Chambers, the NUJ representative at Archant Suffolk, said: ‘The introduction of these non-journalists to do editorial work is the thin end of the wedge. Soon the company could replace all their highly-trained sub-editors with staff who are not journalists.
‘These cuts are not only an attack on the jobs and living standards of Archant staff, but will put the quality of the two newspapers in jeopardy.”
The union is also concerned that Archant have not replaced six reporters who have left the Suffolk centre in recent months.