Almost 100 jobs are under threat at the Midlands News Association, publisher of the UK's biggest selling regional newspaper, the Wolverhampton-based Express and Star, the National Union of Journalists has claimed.

A union official said that 60 jobs in Wolverhampton and 35 in Shropshire are due to be axed, representing more than 10 per cent of the company's workforce. The MNA, which also publishes the Shropshire Star and a number of paid for and free weekly titles, has released a statement saying it has "entered into consultations with staff over redundancies", but has not confirmed the number of potential job losses, or which areas will be affected by the cuts.

The NUJ has expressed concern about the length of the consultation period, describing it as "alarming". As less than 100 jobs are under threat, the MNA is legally obligated to carry out a 30-day consultation, rather than the 90 days required for more than 100 job losses. 

"It is within the letter of the law but I would question as to whether it's in the spirit to only consult for 30 days," Chris Morley, the union's Northern and Midlands organiser, told

In a statement, the MNA confirmed that meetings have been held with members of the staff at both newspapers. "Like every other newspaper publisher, the MNA is facing very difficult trading conditions and there seems to be no sign of improvement," said Alan Harris, managing director of the MNA.

"If we are to continue to invest for the future in our publications, both in print and online, then we must make some cost savings."

Both the Express & Star and Shropshire star introduced part-paywalls around their online content earlier this week.

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