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July 24, 2014

Express journalists condemn Richard Desmond as ‘Britain’s greediest billionaire’ and pledge fight against 200 job cuts

By William Turvill

Express Newspapers journalists have condemned owner Richard Desmond as “Britain’s greediest billionaire” after they were told the company is seeking 200 job cuts.

Staff were yesterday sent a letter from group editorial director Paul Ashford telling them that the workforce across “print editorial departments” would be cut from 650 to 450.

With jobs targeted across offices in London, Broughton and Scotland, Express Newspapers is inviting voluntary redundancies until the end of next month when it may be forced to make compulsory job cuts.

The National Union of Journalists has highlighted the fact that the cuts come despite Desmond making £450m earlier this year from the sale of Channel 5.

Members of the NUJ's chapel supported the following motion:

This chapel does not see why hardworking journalists should subsidise Britain's greediest billionaire. It rejects Richard Desmond's damaging and flawed proposals to cut a third of editorial posts across Express Newspapers. We say these historic titles deserve better than the man who has mismanaged their decline and, time and time again, asked his staff to pay the price with pay freezes and with their jobs.

"This recent indignity despite a huge cash windfall from the sale of Channel 5 for £450m. This chapel resolves to campaign against these proposals and to highlight the serious problems facing journalists in all sections over pay, workloads and stress and to work towards a genuinely fair settlement for all staff and casuals."

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Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "The mice running riot at Express HQ get more crumbs from fat cat Richard Desmond's table than the journalists do.

"No pay rise for seven years and now told they're to lose their jobs.

"The message is clear. NUJ members want a proprietor who listens to them and shares their ambition for the titles, in all their formats, to thrive.

"We urge all journalists whether in digital, print or magazines to join the NUJ campaign against these cuts and for fair pay and workloads."

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