Meltdown at the Express


THE role of the sub-editor is to be abolished at the Daily and Sunday Express, the first national newspapers to make such a swingeing change.

Management has told NUJ chapel officials that 86 jobs will go. Most will be compulsory redundancies.

All of the sackings will be among the already much-depleted staff in London. The group’s centres at Broughton in Lancashire and Glasgow will be unaffected.

Reporters will be expected to input their stories direct into pages and write them to fit. The few remaining sub-editors will be demoted to the role of proof-readers.

The papers, famed for their right-wing and racist views, have been in ‘controlled decline’ for many years under the stewardship of pornography king Richard Desmond, who also owns the tacky Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday and a string of magazines including the successful celebrity bible OK!

The few subs who remain will also lose their much-valued four-night week and be expected to work a five-night rota.

The Daily Drone cannot put the situation better that Roy Greenslade in his Media Guardian blog. He writes of Desmond: “He applies to newspaper publishing the same values he has applied to his pornographic empire: the quality of the content doesn't matter, just give me the money. This, surely, is not a fit and proper person to run newspapers.”

The Express NUJ chapel said in a resolution after a meeting attended by 100 members: "This chapel views with anger the proposed redundancies which will herald the immediate demise of the Daily Express and Sunday Express as national newspapers.”

Email that spells doom

Express group managing editor Ian Parrott sent the following email to staff:

From: Ian Parrott

Sent: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 18:33 PM

To: Express; Star; Broughton; Glasgow; SundayExpress

Subject: Important information for Editorial Staff

We met today with the NUJ to tell them of our proposals to make significant changes in the editorial production areas of the Daily and Sunday Express in London which will result in redundancies among staff and casuals in the production areas.

The reason for these changes is that it is imperative for the business that substantial cost savings are made. This is the only way we can maintain a viable business able to cope with the problems of the national economy and the credit crunch and its continuing effect on us; the substantial drop in our advertising revenues and the continuing drop in our circulation figures.

These pressures mean that is inevitable that we have had to scrutinise all areas of the business in order to reduce costs.  

We have an opportunity for change in Production because of the introduction of the new Woodwing editorial system which can allow us to revolutionise the way pages are written and edited and therefore reduce costs.

We are also discussing with the union a plan to move to 5 day working. This will mean a 5 day rolling shift arrangement for most Production staff in London and we expect to achieve further savings through this change.

This must lead to redundancies among Production staff in London and we consider that they cannot all be achieved through voluntary leavers. We have therefore started the formal consultation processes with the NUJ and expect to meet them over the next few weeks to reach some conclusions on numbers affected and other changes.

We will keep you informed of developments and progress. Staff directly affected by these changes will receive a letter to their home addresses confirming that their job is at risk of redundancy.

Ian Parrott

Group Managing Editor



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