Saturday, February 26, 2011

Newsquest | U.K. papers seek voluntary layoffs

From an article yesterday by Oliver Luft in trade journal Press Gazette, concerning Gannett's U.K. newspaper subsidiary, Newsquest:

Regional publisher Newsquest has told staff working on its papers in London that it would accept requests for voluntary redundancy.

Roger Mills, managing director for Newsquest London, briefed staff yesterday that due to worsening trading conditions the company had opened a redundancy programme.

Employees have been given a relatively short window to register their interest as requests have to be with Newsquest London’s HR department by close of business on Monday.

The company announcement issued by Mills did not detail the terms being offered by Newsquest for those wishing to take up its offer of voluntary redundancy nor specify how many volunteers the company is seeking.

The opening of the voluntary redundancy programme has raised fears amongst staff about the long term future of a number of Newsquest’s titles in the capital.

A number of Newsquest weekly papers in South and West London have undergone pagination cuts in recent weeks with key editorial pages in some titles reduced by half.

Pagination has been reduced across Newsquest’s Guardian series of papers, the Surrey Comet and the Richmond & Twickenham Times in recent weeks.

Newsquest London declined to comment.

About Newsquest
Newsquest employs about one in seven of Gannett's 32,600 global employees -- a total of 4,800 -- at 17 dailies and hundreds of weeklies. Newsquest cut nearly 6% of its jobs last year, according to GCI's just-filed annual 10-K statement to U.S. regulators. GCI bought the U.K. operation in the summer of 1999 for about $1.5 billion.

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