Laird seeks urgent meeting with JPIMedia bosses

Lesley Laird MP has requested an urgent meeting with JPI Media bosses to seek clarity on the future of the company’s Scottish newspaper titles. 

Johnston Press filed for administration on Friday but new parent company JPI Media – a consortium of the group’s creditors – took the troubled firm over the next day.

The pre-pack administration deal allowed Johnston Press to reduce its debt burden from £220m to £85m and shed its pension liabilities as part of the sale.

However, the Pension Protection Fund has expressed concerns and is examining the deal.

JPI Media, which, as Johnston Press, shed a third of its entire Scottish workforce last year, says the new deal will safeguard existing jobs.

Lesley Laird MP  said: “Questions now must be asked why Johnston Press’ board pursued a pre-pack administration deal which offloaded a pension deficit of at least £40m onto taxpayers and devalued future pension pay outs for hard-working local journalists.

“It’s only thanks to journalists’ pride, loyalty and sheer graft that JP newspapers in Scotland survived a decade of continual staff cutbacks by management and yet, in the final death throes of Johnston Press, staff were penalised yet again.

“Employees have been given reassurances by JPI Media that jobs have been safeguarded under this new deal. I need a more substantial commitment than that and will be contacting CEO David King to find out what the nuts and bolts of that promise actually look like.”