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Latest Trinity Mirror ‘restructure’ sprung on Daily Post & Chester Chronicle staff

In a statement issued today the National Union of Journalists have reacted to the latest round of restructuring in Trinity Mirror – the publishers of the Daily Post.

It states: “In the North West of England the company has announced it will discontinue print production in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

“This will be replaced with two sites based in Liverpool and Colwyn Bay. The company has indicated its intention to move to just one site in Liverpool in future and this will cover all local newspaper print production in the North West.” Adding that print production in Chester would cease in October.

Update – we have had sight of the direct internal statement. The communique issued by the Editor of the Liverpool Echo, and Editor-in-Chief of Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales states: “Here in the North West region we are therefore proposing  to discontinue the current print production operating model which allows for three print production sites, in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.”

“We are proposing to operate a single print production rota for the North West around two print sites – one in Liverpool and one in Colwyn Bay. Ultimately we would envisage a single site print production centre based in Liverpool. This means we are proposing to end print production in Chester with effect from week commencing October 16 with staff moving to the Old Hall Street production centre.”

Yesterday it was also announced that Trinity Mirror was converting two daily newspapers in Gloucester (each with 8k circulations)  to weekly publications, with the reasoning that the majority of their readers took a paper once a week, with updates online filling the gap daily.

Observations by HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk and commenters on there compared the situation to the Liverpool Daily Post that was subject to a similar move, and subsequent closure.

People familiar with the matter told us of their concerns at the move that ‘came out of the blue to staff’, noting that the Llandudno Junction Daily Post office was sold off to a supermarket and now operates out of new rented office space. That move was described as ‘a total joke’, with the announcement kept from staff, only finding out via a press release from Lidl – which itself was vetoed from being run in the paper.

The new plans will see print production, in part the skilful job of putting together engaging newspaper pages, moved away from Chester. The NUJ statement indicates a possible future plan is that the Daily Post would have such production taking place outside of Wales in Liverpool.

We are told that staff do not believe there is any immediate plans to close the Chester office, however say there has been local redundancies, and with recent departures there are only two reporters left covering the city. Overall around 40 jobs have been cut, with 15 new roles created, in the company wide announcement.

Recently Trinity Mirror have rejigged their ‘regions’ in a move that saw an ‘enhanced’ South West region wrapping Devon and Cornwall in with Cardiff and Swansea. Up here the Daily Post / North Wales is seen as part of the North West operation.

Concerns over the content of the papers have been raised to us, with ‘more homogenised data from UK data unit’ and ‘community content editors’ replacing journalists, with an increase in Press Association content all raising eyebrows.

The above is taking place as Trinity Mirror have confirmed they are in discussions to acquire 100% of Northern and Shell, better known as publishers of the Daily Star, Sunday Express, Daily Express and OK! magazine.

When the Daily Post went on strike we wrote “…our overall fear is if the Trinity Mirror path is followed it will result in The Daily Post being merged with Wales Online and run from Liverpool and Cardiff. That, to us, is not good news for Wrexham, North East Wales or Wales.”

 

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