Newsquest South London announces industrial action
23 September 2016
Following the vote in favour of strike action and industrial action short of a strike, journalists working at Newsquest titles in South London have notified the company they will start a 'work to rule' on Thursday 29 September 2016. A work to rule means that NUJ members will strictly adhere to company or statutory work-related rules already in place.
This action short of a strike is in response to company plans to put nearly all of the newsroom staff at risk of redundancy. The work to rule will put pressure on the company to re-think these plans and will also highlight the chapel’s concerns relating to health and safety at work, inadequate staffing levels, excessive workloads and a deterioration in the quality of local journalism due to consecutive local cuts.
The NUJ chapel has also passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in chief executive Henry Faure Walker, editorial director Toby Granville and managing director Tony Portelli because as senior management they have no realistic plans, strategy or vision for how local news can be produced if the redundancies go ahead.
An NUJ chapel spokesperson said:
"Senior managers have shown they have no idea what our work involves and have no interest in finding out. They're quite happy to lose readers by compromising our ability to produce quality news.
"The company believes our work is worth nothing and so all its cuts fall on reporters, editors and subs.
"We're tired of being treated as disposable 'non-revenue generators' while Newsquest chases profit to send straight to Gannett in the US."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"The chapel’s work to rule will expose the severe levels of understaffing that already exist at Newsquest South London.
"The company’s current proposals will have a detrimental impact on local news and on the journalists who work in South London. Our members just want decent terms and conditions at work so they can do a good job for the local communities they serve.
"The company's actions show a blatant disregard both for its hardworking staff and Londoners who rely on the news and content they produce."
The titles and websites affected include the Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Guardians, the Richmond & Twickenham Times, the Surrey Comet and the News Shopper in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham.