Iliffe finalises Herts and Essex shake-up - Press Gazette

Iliffe finalises Herts and Essex shake-up

Colin Grant has been made editor of the four-edition Hertfordshire Mercury series as part of a senior management restructure at Herts and Essex Newspapers.

Grant will take up the new role in addition to his current role as group editor-in-chief.

The shake-up at the group was initially strongly opposed by staff because of the loss of three senior jobs — including that of the group's NUJ mother of chapel.

The former editor of the Hertfordshire and Buntingford editions of the Mercury, Paul Winspear, has been made editor of its sister title, the Herts & Essex Observer, replacing Val Brown, who took voluntary redundancy earlier this year when the company announced its plans.

Former news editor of the Hertfordshire and Buntingford editions of the Mercury, Paul Brackley, is now news editor of the Hertfordshire Mercury series and will assume the same role at titles in Hoddesdon and Cheshunt. The company has also taken on a production editor — former Hoddesdon and Cheshunt editor Ian Rogerson, who will now work on the Hertfordshire Mercury series and has responsibility for all four editions. Editor of the Harlow Star, Ken Morley has taken on the editorship of the free Herts and Lea Valley Star series, replacing Bristow.

The company has also agreed to take on a freelance sub-editor.

Publisher Iliffe News and Media's original plans for the restructure almost triggered a strike in August this year, but industrial action was suspended after management made a number of concessions, including enhanced redundancy packages.

Management agreed to hold a "no holds barred" review of the restructure.

Three senior figures have left the company with an enhanced voluntary redundancy package negotiated by the union. They are Herts & Essex Observer editor Val Brown, news editor at the Hoddesdon & Cheshunt Mercury and mother of chapel Pat Roberts and the editor of the Hertfordshire & Lea Valley Star, Chris Bristow.

The chapel said it plans to discuss with management why Brown was open to take redundancy, when she was later replaced with another editor. Father of chapel David Tooley said: "We do want to be able to trust management to come up with the various reviews they said they promised."

The company is currently undertaking a review as to whether to close an office in Hoddesdon.

Grant said: "The reorganisation is coming into place and the review procedures that were agreed will go ahead."



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