The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on Northern & Shell Group owner Richard Desmond to sell his papers “to someone who cares about journalism”.
The union made the demand after it emerged that the owner of the Express newspaper group and OK magazine is to make 200 staff redundant, despite recently receiving £463.3m from the sale of Channel 5 to US media company Viacom.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "Desmond has made a huge amount from the sale of Channel 5, but has no plans to re-invest this windfall in the newspapers he runs. Instead, he is willfully running them down, by cutting staff to unacceptable levels and leaving those who remain with huge workloads.”
The latest financial accounts of Desmond's Northern & Shell showed an operating profit of £37m in 2013. However the newly launched “Health Lottery” made an operating loss of £28.4m.
Davison commented: Why should journalists lose their jobs so he can prop up his failing Health Lottery?”, adding, “now the company is in profit, perhaps it is time for him to sell the titles to someone who actually cares about newspapers and quality journalism.”
The union said it would be meeting the company later this month to discuss the proposed redundancies.
The Drum contacted Desmond’s office but no-one was available to comment.