Major redundancies at the Belfast Telegraph?

More trouble at the Belfast Telegraph. The NUJ Chapel has got wind of an expected 25% cut in the paper’s editorial staff. 16 out of 115 out of the journalist staff have applied for voluntary redunancy, but the management wants more. There has been some speculation that the owners may be getting the title ready for a sell off, whilst keeping the more profitable print business (which prints a sizable proportion of all the incoming titles in Northern Ireland).From the NUJ:

Belfast Telegraph NUJ Chapel today unanimously passed two resolutions in respect of the expected 25pc cut in editorial staff. With particular reference to concerns about excessive workloads for journalists following the cuts, the chapel voted:

1. A motion of no confidence in editorial management over the cuts

2. To initiate a ballot on industrial action including a work to rule

Contact is to be made with members of the advisory board set up by INM after its acquisition of the Belfast Telegraph titles. NUJ officials were also instructed to seek legal advice on commitments given by INM to the competition authorities regarding the takeover of the Belfast Telegraph titles in 2000.

This at a time when sales of newspapers in Northern Ireland have seen a slight upward rise – and as much as 2% in Belfast Telegraph figures. The exception was Daily Ireland’s figure, which drops slightly from 10,467 in the summer to 10,046 for last year.