Archive for the 'Redundancy' Category


Sub Editors Jobs To Go

It seems the owners of the Shields Gazette,  Johnston Press are continuing to push through thier controversial centralisation agenda in an effort to drive down costs and reduce the number of staff employed on individual titles.

This time Johnston Press is targeting sub-editing and picture desk management at its North West titles – with the potential loss of 12 jobs.

The North West is the third area, after the Midlands and Northern Ireland, where Johnston Press has announced centralisation. Staff were told last Thursday, and meetings were ongoing on Friday. The plans – subject to consultation – would see sub-editing at Chorley, Garstang, Burnley and Wigan moving to Preston, home of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the loss of four jobs.

Sub-editing in Lancaster and Morecambe would move to Blackpool, with six jobs lost but three created, giving a net loss of three.

Five picture desk editors from the region would have to apply for two jobs in Preston, and two photographer roles would also go, bringing the total job losses to 12. Titles affected would include the Burnley Express, the Chorley Guardian, and Morecambe’s The Visitor.

Johnston Press has recently announced centralisation in the Midlands, with 49 potential job losses, and Northern Ireland, with 11 job losses. In the Midlands, the National Union of Journalists is proposing an alternative restructuring. In Northern Ireland, staff at the Derry Journal have balloted for strike action.

When the centralising plans were announced, Johnston Press’s chief operating officer Danny Cammiade said, “Johnston Press is a newspaper group that bases itself on its localness.”

Unfortunately this will come as no comfort to the sub editors at the Gazette who are likely to lose their jobs when the centralisation programme reaches the North East later this year and perhaps now’s the time to look elsewhere.

Mr Monkey has heard that STCentral TV, South Tyneside’s rapidly growing internet TV channel is expanding it’s news operation and is currently recruiting experienced journalists, especially those with knowledge of sub editing – so what are you waiting for?


Gazette Imposes Pay Freeze

The Gazette’s long term future may be in doubt after it’s parent company imposed a pay freeze on all it’s staff by deferring next year’s basic salary reviews for six months – the company claims that the salary reviews are being deferred a result of the continued severe downturn in advertising.

However, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) accused the company of making its employees “pay for management failure” and “reneging on a number of two- and three-year pay deals that have already been agreed”.

The company’s chief executive, Tim Bowlder said, “Regrettably, in the light of falling revenues and continued uncertainty, this decision is necessary to help safeguard the future of our companies.”

“In six months’ time, we hope our operating companies will be in a better position to determine the impact of the recession and to decide whether or not a salary increase can be afforded. Over the few next weeks, our company [managing directors] will be holding meetings with our employees and trade union representatives to explain the decision and discuss how it impacts local agreements.”

In November, the company announced that revenue from property advertising had plummeted by nearly 50% year on year since the end of August, as the effects of the latest financial crisis hit home.

During the same period employment ads were down by 32.1% year on year across the group, while motoring ads were down 24.3% and display ads down 12.1%.

The NUJ issued a strongly worded statement accusing the company of “appalling financial mismanagement”.

“Our members simply don’t accept that they have to pay the price for corporate failure. It’s incomprehensible that a company which made operating profits of over £178m last year can’t now afford to keep promises to its staff,” said the NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear.

“This is all about the appalling financial mismanagement of Johnston Press. The company prided itself on massive and unsustainable profit margins, taking cash out of the business, whilst putting the company in the red.”

“Now as those debts are being called in, managers can be found floundering, without any strategy except to cut back on already stretched editorial budgets.

“The bad faith being shown by the company is unbelievable. We’ll be consulting our members about how they want to respond to the announcement, but anger is already running high so the prospect of action can’t be ruled out.”

The shit being churned out by the likes of Paul Myles Kelly, Terry Kelly, David Maclean, Leah Strug, Lisa Nightingale, Angela Taggart, Andy Hughes and Verity Ward won’t be doing circulation figures much good so it’s hardly suprising advertising revenues at the Gazette are also down year on year.

If you’re stupid enough to waste 42p on a copy of the Gazette you certainly won’t be buying it for it’s news content, it’s not exactly packed with news is it?

But there’s plenty of worthless stories that are of little or no interest to the majority of readers including; a spattering of regurgitated old news (which has often appeared on blogs up to 2 weeks earlier), pages of advertising, an occasional cheap and shoddy competition and the odd ‘giveaway’ – remember the free packet of crisps promotion?

But in these uncertain times you can be sure of one thing – the Gazette will be full of Labour party propaganda, council spin and happy smiley pictures of Labour councillors; most of whom are up for re-election in 2010. You decide whether it’s coincidence, or piss poor editorial control by John Szymanski who appears to be answerable to his new found friends in the council rather than his employer.

Perhaps Mr Szymanski would like to explain to his dwindling readership why the Gazette didn’t publish this story?


EXCLUSIVE: Journalists Plan Three Days of Industrial Action

EXCLUSIVE: Mr Monkey can reveal workers at Newsquest North East based in Darlington are angry about job cuts and a pay freeze and have voted for industrial action in a secret ballot.

They now plan to hold mandatory union meetings at noon on Monday 5 January, Tuesday 6 January, and Wednesday 7 January.

On 5 January journalists at the Newsquest centre in York – fifty miles down the road – will receive the results of their ballots for industrial action over similar issues.

Jenny Lennox, Assistant Organiser for the North of England said:

“The Newsquest chapels in the North East had both been offered pay rises during negotiations before the company snatched them away and imposed a pay freeze.

“At both centres there have been big job cuts and the heart has been ripped out of papers that played a significant part in the distinctive cultural life of the region – and helped to hold the communities together.

“Our New Year’s message is that members are determined to stand up for each other and to stand up for journalism.”

The Darlington Newsquest centre publishes the daily Northern Echo, the Darlington and Stockton Times, the Durham Times and the Advertiser series of free papers – employing around 100 editorial staff.

Mr Monkey reckons that if the financial problems at the Gazette’s parent company, plummeting advertising revenues and falling circulation figures continue, staff at Chapter Row may be forced in to taking similar action to protect their jobs.

So if it’s about cost cutting, perhaps it’s time to carry out a job evaluation – what better place to start than with the editor because he seems to spend most of his time hiding up Malcolm’s arse.


Hobbit Spits His Dummy Out

Seems the Fat Mackem Hobbit over at the Shire Curly’s Corner Shop has spat his dummy out because Mr Monkey removed the link to his boring blog.

He reckons that Mr Monkey removed the link in a fit of anger and this action bears a similarity to some other event in the blogsphere.

Sorry to disapoint you Mr Hobbit but nothing could be further from the truth.

The link was removed because it served no useful purpose. Originally it was provided to as a courtesy for Mr Monkey’s readers but it was apparent within weeks of Mr Monkey’s Blog going live that most of them couldn’t give a fuck give about the Hobbit’s insignificant little blog.

Mr Monkey thought readers might appreciate a link to something that wouldn’t sent them to sleep. But before removing the link to the Shire Corner Shop, Mr Monkey gave the Hobbit an opportunity to reciprocate the link. He choose not to, so Mr Monkey removed the link – hardly the actions of someone that was angry!

Mr Monkey has suspected for sometime that the Fat Mackem Hobbit is obsessed with figures and his latest comments proves this theory.

Perhaps the Hobbit’s obsession is psychological and is related to his childhood – the poor bastard never managed to exceed 5ft in height but his girth ballooned into something resembling a Teletubby.

He’s spent his entire life trying to grow taller than a daffodil and comfort eating in the hope he might achieve his goal. Then he discovered blogging and now spends every waking hour feeding his ego and pretending he’s a big player.

Come on Curly, big and Hobbit just don’t go together.

Talking of figures, when are you going to tell us how many readers you actually have? This time last year you couldn’t wait to tell the world how popular your blog was but suddenly your silence is deafening – or is it that your readers prefer a bit of Monkey business?


Brady Reaches The End of The Line

Following a spate of blunders senior Labour party sources have confirmed that councillor, Bill Brady will be forced out ‘step down’ at the next local elections in 2010.

Labour party colleagues and officers of the council have been worried about his erratic and irrational behaviour for sometime, but now fear for his safety and well-being following a spate of car accidents.

It seems old age has’nt been kind to councillor Brady and he’s now losing his marbles.

Councillor Iain Malcolm has had a number of confidential discussions about councillor Brady’s future and wants him to step down in 2010 before he  becomes an electoral liability and losses the seat, probably to the Indy Alliance.

Mr Monkey reckons that councillor Brady won’t take too kindly to having his nose pushed out and knowing what a devious bastard he his, don’t be surprised if Bill hasn’t already lined up a replacement that he can manipulate and do what he and not what Iain Malcolm wants him or her to do.

If Iain Malcolm isn’t careful he could make a right pigs ear of this one and Bill might just have the last laugh!


Painters Brushed Aside

Mr Monkey noticed a gathering of South Tyneside Homes painters early this morning at Harton Miners Welfare Club.

Given the number of STH vehicles in the car park it would seem that either they were giving away free bacon sarnies or something important was being discussed.

Mr Monkey has learned that senior managers of STH called a meeting of the painters and their representatives to announce the fact that staff ware to be laid off and that redundancies will follow – no doubt under the guise of saving money.

Mr Monkey reckons the future is not very bright for STH trades staff and that today’s announcement is likely to be the first of many.

First steps to privatisation, I wonder?



Today’s Cabinet meeting looks to be an interesting affair!

There are a number of publically available reports being ‘considered’ which relate to the financial position of the council. However, a document unwittingly leaked to Mr Monkey reveals a very different picture to the one being spun by the council’s senior officers and the Labour leadership, especially when it comes to the true state of the council’s finances.

Mr Monkey can reveal that the council has once again massively overspent it’s budget and that as a result of this latest failure to manage the borough’s finaces the future looks very bleak, especially if you are an employee of the council or a resident of the borough.

Whatever the spin Iain Malcolm and Irene Lucas puts on this financial disaster, the facts are that there will be some drastic cost cutting measures. These are likley to include; further increases in ‘optional’ charges, scaling down of front line services, suspension of non essential services, the sell off of more publicly owned assets such as school playing fields and buildings, a freeze on recruitment and redundancies amongst council employees.

Residents can also look forward to a whooping increase in the community charge bills of at least 5% in 2009.

There’s no local election in 2009 so Iain Malcolm won’t worry about losing power and hope’s he can ride out the storm by the 2010 elections.

Mr Monkey predicts that in 2010 Labour will bribe the electorate with another headline grabbing artificially low increase in the community charge in a desperate attempt to hold on to power. The bribe will be paid for by allowing officers to ‘secrtely’ borrow millions behind the scenes.

Mr Monkey has learned that Iain Malcolm is so concerned about the political fallout and negative impact this will have on his leadership, that he has called an emergency meeting the Labour group immediately after today’s Cabinet meeting.

Apparently the meeting is to discuss how Labour are going to get out of this one without getting covered in shit.

Mr Monkey is so looking forward to hearing Iain Malcolm squirm later today!