The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said “all options are open”, including strike action, after Reach plc, the parent company of Mirror and Express papers, brutally slashed 450 jobs last week.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the NUJ said there is a “high degree of anger among members for the actions being undertaken by company chiefs and NUJ chapels therefore reserve the right to ballot for industrial action. All options are open.”
Last week, Reach said it is axing around 450 full-time jobs, 320 of them editorial roles, as part of a cost-cutting drive. The union said it is “the single worst” mass culling in the UK publication sector for decades.
It is a desolate time for the publishing industry as it faces increasing competition from social media platforms and tech giants with control over how news is accessed and monetised.
A tricky shift to digital has not gone well for Reach, with analysts expecting income from its digital segment to be £21m less than last year.
The NUJ said the collapse of Reach’s digital income in 2023 is “a disaster that no one in senior management is taking responsibility for”.
It comes ahead of a Reach shareholder meeting tomorrow to decide how annual dividends will be paid out over the coming years, regardless of any strains on the group’s trading.
The Reach NUJ group, which has “no confidence” in chief Jim Mullen or senior leaders, has condemned how they have controlled and directed the business.
It “strongly” urges non-executive board members and shareholders to take this opinion into account at the meeting.
The publisher of numerous national and regional titles has cut more than 2,000 roles since 2010, according to City A.M.‘s own research. It already showed 330 journalists the door earlier this year in January and March.