A round of 10 job cuts has been announced at Media Wales, the Trinity Mirror-owned division that publishes the Western Mail, the South Wales Echo and Wales on Sunday.
Staff were told today at 10am that there would be 10 voluntary job cuts as part of a major shake-up of the group designed to improve the titles’ online operations.
The NUJ said it would consider industrial action in the face of compulsory cuts. The union said it was the third round of redundancies in five years and that some 40 journalists have gone since 2003.
Media Wales said today it wanted to create a ‘single multimedia newsroom’in which each Media Wales title is brought under ‘one editorial operation, serving all print and electronic platforms”.
Editorial director of Media Wales, Alan Edmunds, said the move would ‘enhance the quality of the print titles and make optimum use of editorial resources”.
The company said Edmunds has spent the last six months researching newsrooms across Europe and the USA.
Under the plans, each title will retain an editor who will have control of all print and electronic content while deputy editors will oversee the day-today operations and will be called ‘executive editors”.
Edmunds said: ‘It is our belief that the future success of our business lies in the need to transform from a predominantly print-based culture to a truly multimedia environment.
‘This is a pioneering move for the regional industry and will put us at the forefront of multimedia newsrooms across the UK.’
According to the NUJ, because of seven vacant posts – which will not be filled – there will be a reduction of 17 posts across the company. In a consultation document handed to staff, the company’s desired list of cuts includes six managers, three photographers and one journalist from the sports department, although no individuals have been singled out.
Joint NUJ father of chapel Martin Shipton said: ‘We are determined to ensure that the people of Wales get a high quality news service. To this end, we shall be seeking full involvement in drawing up the detailed ways in which the new operation will work during the announced three month consultation period.
‘It is vital that the integrity and identity of our print titles are protected, that journalists retain control of editorial policy, and that quality is not sacrificed by placing a multiplicity of burdens on individual journalists.”
Staff were told the process would be ‘led by editors”, and Shipton said it was a priority of the union keep it that way.
The chapel said it would enter unconditional, ‘detailed discussions with management”.
The move comes a week after the resignation of South Wales Echo editor Richard Williams.