Associated joins the newspaper job cutters

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The Independent Online
Associated Newspapers is laying off 40 staff and has plans to make another 140 redundant, as a new round of restructuring hit the UK's beleaguered national newspaper market.

The cuts followed the announcement this week that Express Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and the Star, is to cut 220 jobs, including 40 journalists and 40 production staff, at a cost of pounds 7.7m.

Associated, publisher of the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and the Evening Standard, has already rationalised its personnel and accounting departments, resulting in a loss of 40 jobs. The rest of the planned cuts are to come from the production side of the business. It is believed that the redundancies will cost pounds 6m.

A company spokesman said no journalists would be sacked in the current round of job cuts. "We are not looking at that area at all. We have no intention of seeing the quality of the newspapers hit. Whenever you lose journalists, the best go first, because they can easily find jobs elsewhere. That is not the approach we intend to take."

The spokesman refused to confirm the target of 140 additional job cuts. But, he said, "even if we cut as many jobs as the Express, that would only amount to 10 per cent of the workforce, compared to 15 per cent for the Express." Sir David English, the chairman, could not be reached for comment.

The spokesman said the current round of job cuts was aimed at "flattening the administrative structures," and blamed the rising cost of newsprint, as well as the circulation price war, for the need to rationalise.

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