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Newsquest ballot for action on jobs

17 January 2014

The NUJ has notified Newsquest management in Bradford, York and Darlington that the union will start a ballot for industrial action.

The ballot is in response to the threat of compulsory redundancies and the impact on quality and workloads following the transfer of subbing work to Newport, Wales.

The ballot at Darlington starts on Friday 17 January and the ballots at Bradford and York will start on Wednesday 22 January.

Local NUJ members want to campaign together to save local media jobs at Newsquest.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“This is yet another wrongheaded decision by Newsquest executives and yet again the chasing of profits is being put before quality local journalism, by a company that seems to have its definition of ‘local’ dictated by its American parent company. We will continue to campaign in parliament to ensure that there is proper protection for our local media and do all we can to support our members in Darlington, York and Bradford.”

Chris Morley, NUJ northern and midlands organiser, said:

“Our members fear that Newsquest's bizarre plan to place editorial production of its local papers in Yorkshire and the North East in another country will cost the jobs of talented and experienced journalists.
“The chapels involved also believe strongly that their loss, and the production system envisaged by the company, will inevitably damage the quality of the titles and heap yet more work on already overburdened shoulders for those who remain in the newsroom.
“They are not prepared to let that happen without every avenue being pursued for a better alternative and one that retains the maximum number of jobs in the region. We want the company to take heed of the strength of feeling across all three centres.”

Bob Smith, NUJ Father of Chapel at Bradford, said:

"Management have refused to budge an inch during consultations on these flawed plans. They even refuse to talk to the NUJ’s official Chris Morley. Members have said managers’ responses show contempt for those who are at risk of losing jobs and there is real anger in the chapel. Moving to ballot for action is the only route open to our members given the frustration at the lack of progress on talks.”

Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, NUJ York's joint Fathers of the Chapel, said:

“This heartless, short-sighted proposal gives five staff with more than 100 years of local newspaper experience between them a stark and unacceptable choice - uproot yourselves 270 miles away or lose your jobs.
“Subbing hubs are a proven failure. They cause nothing but damage to the quality and integrity of local journalism while sacrificing talented and dedicated journalists with irreplaceable knowledge of their papers and their community, all so a parent company can continue to scoop up profits.”

The NUJ Darlington chapel said:

“We are totally opposed to the transfer of our sub-editing work to Newport, Wales, which puts the jobs of 11 staff at risk and will mean our local newspapers and magazines will be produced by a centre 270 miles away. Staff who have given many years of dedicated service to the company are faced with re-locating or losing their jobs.”

Tags: , relocation, newsquest, newspapers, cuts