NUJ: Belfast Telegraph squeezed as ING’s milchcow

Interesting statement from the NUJ in Belfast arguing that Anthony O’Reilly’s Independent Newspaper Group is squeezing the profitable Belfast Telegraph in order to fund the loss making Independent newspaper in London. Their statement follows in full below the fold:Invest NI conference: A statement from the NUJ in Belfast

As a major investment conference begins today in Northern Ireland one of its main supporters has come in for criticism from a union representing many of his staff in Belfast. The NUJ in Belfast said, in a statement,

“It would caution the Northern Ireland Assembly against encouraging the kind of investment” visited upon the Belfast Telegraph titles by Anthony O’Reilly’s Independent Newspapers group. This has involved the exporting of profits from the Belfast operation to subsidise the multi-million pound loss-making London Independent title.

“A job and cost-cutting programme has been imposed on Belfast which is still ongoing. Our members have been left to battle against the odds to protect editorial standards. Meanwhile O’Reilly and his fellow directors are awarded colossal pay and bonus packages each year – making a nonsense of their rhetoric on costs,” said Bob Miller, chair of the Belfast and District Branch of the NUJ and National Executive Council member for Northern Ireland.

He added: “The papers editorial staff at the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life and the Community Telegraph weekly chain, which are still recovering from a major redundancy programme instigated by the company two years ago, are fearful of further cutbacks.

“Editorial staff are in the middle of introducing a new production system, and they believe that there is management move to block much needed recruitment, even after advertising for posts.”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty