NUJ activists at the Manchester Evening News are waiting to see how a diminished newsroom will cope before deciding whether to ballot staff for industrial action.
And the chapel has not ruled out holding a strike ballot over a 2.5 per cent pay rise also announced last week.
The paper’s parent company MEN Media, owned by Guardian Media Group, has announced 40 job cuts at its headquarters on Deansgate in Manchester city centre – including eight journalists and one editorial assistant.
The eight, according to mother of chapel Judy Gordon, are ‘mostly subs’but also include one reporter and one feature writer. Some 35 MEN staff, 27 of them journalists, lost their jobs in a round of cuts in February last year.
The cuts are part of a company-wide review that will also consider GMG Regional Media’s 23 weekly titles. The company employs about 850 staff and also runs cable TV station Channel M.
Gordon said: ‘What we are waiting for now is to find out how they are going to operate the newsroom with fewer people. We’ve not ruled it [industrial action] out – originally we said that we would if there were compulsory redundancies, and that’s still theoretically a possibility in the weeklies.
‘What it comes down to is fewer people doing more work and there comes a point when you have to say this can’t be done – have a happy, healthy staff and produce a good product. But it will be up to the editor to plan how to do that.”
Gordon said the chapel would consider industrial action as an option over the pay offer, but only after learning more about new working conditions.
Mark Dodson, chief executive of GMG Regional Media, said: ‘As a company with a large proportion of revenues linked to print businesses, it is now time to reshape for a digital future. This will mean that we are best able to face the demands of an increasingly competitive marketplace.”