NUJ 'no confidence' vote in Brum

Roger Borrell: editor-in-chief of the BirminghamEvening Mail (above)

An NUJ meeting in Birmingham on Wednesday passed a vote of no confidence in Birmingham Post and Mail managing director Alistair Nee and editor-in-chief Roger Borrell and called on them to quit. It follows the announcement of more job cuts.

In all 22 editorial jobs will be affected on Trinity’s regional newspapers in the West Midlands, divided into 11 redundancies and 11 posts not being replaced.

It is understood that the editors’ posts on the Hinckley Times and Bedworth Echo are being axed. Three journalists’ jobs are being cut at the Evening Mail in Birmingham and four at the Coventry Telegraph, which is to lose its motoring correspondent.

There are also to be job losses on the company’s Midland Weekly Media newspaper group. The “no confidence” motion was overwhelmingly passed at a meeting of around 50 members of the joint NUJ chapel representing the Birmingham Post, Evening Mail and Sunday Mercury.

Concern about the cuts has led to the NUJ chapels in Birmingham and Coventry circulating a petition among journalists.

It says: “We the undersigned believe the relentless drive by Trinity Mirror to cut costs is now destroying the infrastructure of our newspapers.

“We believe there is no regard for the quality of our titles or investment in its staff in the relentless pursuit of ever-increasing profits.

“We call on the company to draw a halt to the job cuts and instead put all necessary resources into restoring the editorial integrity of the newspapers.”

A Trinity Mirror Midlands spokesman said in a statement: “In September 2003, we announced a significant change programme designed to improve the performance of our Midlands businesses, based on a series of structural reorganisations. Our review has continued during the course of this year and further opportunities have been identified to increase performance and efficiency.

“As a result, we have announced a number of editorial redundancies across the Midlands region, as well as the creation of some new roles.

“Overall, we anticipate that 22 editorial roles will be affected, through a combination of redundancies and natural turnover.

“Where possible, we will seek to achieve these through voluntary redundancy and will also be creating three new roles in the business.

“A month’s consultation with staff and unions is already underway”


By Jon Slattery

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