Newsquest south London journalists back on strike for a week on Monday
21 October 2016
It was a sad day for journalists at Sutton working on Newsquest south London titles as four of their colleagues left, a total of five for the week.
They are five of seven who resigned following the announcement of a "restructuring" that will result in 12 reporters covering news, sport and leisure across 11 newspapers and associated websites under a single content editor.
They left reluctantly; but felt they could not face a future on these terms.
The titles 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. Many of these areas, including Croydon, will have no dedicated reporters covering the patch.
On Monday those left will be on the picket line again until Friday and welcome visits from supporters. They are still prepared to negotiate with management, which has so far refused to speak to them. The chapel is fighting for quality journalism that serves their local communities and for more staff so they do not have to continue with an impossible workload.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
"It's shocking that these journalists and those who've already left have been so ground down by Newsquest that they've simply had enough and voted with their feet. Their passion for the proper job of producing quality local journalism has been squandered by an employer who should have been supporting and developing them not trashing these principles and failing their readers.
"It's embarrassing for the company that they now won't have a single senior reporters between their titles, or any dedicated sport and leisure journalists. Remaining reporters will be expected to plug gaps from the office by turning round press releases. Journalists will see their pay fall because of the introduction of shifts previously classed as overtime and individuals still haven't been given job descriptions or information about how things are actually supposed to work in the new structure. It's a shambles.
"Our chapel are to be congratulated for the determined way they are standing up for local journalism as they take further strike action next week.”
The chapel would like to thank NUJ chapels, branches and members who have offered messages of support. Now they are asking for donations to sustain them as they take this action. If you are sending a donation can you also please email firstname.lastname@example.org noting the amount and send the money to:
Account number 20143387
Sort code 608301
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