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Newsquest South London threatens sports and leisure posts

31 May 2011

An entire Newsquest London sports and leisure department of eight journalists is being threatened with redundancy by the company. The NUJ is already balloting on industrial action over other job cuts.

Newsquest London has announced job cuts at the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian and Wimbledon Guardian.

The cuts are planned for Twickenham, Sutton, and the entire sports and leisure department of eight people – two editors, two sport writers, two leisure writers and two subs at Sutton.

The job cuts would mean news, sport and leisure for seven newspapers would be produced by a total of only twelve reporters, with only two editors left to supervise the work.

Jenny Lennox, NUJ assistant organiser who negotiated for the NUJ, said:

"The company's short-sighted business model has reached a level where adverts are in danger of being increasingly ignored as readers toss their disappearing newspapers away unread.
"These cuts threaten the future survival of local newspapers in south London. Newsquest makes millions of pounds worth of profit and at the same time they want to axe our members jobs and retreat from quality local journalism.
"The union is balloting for action in response to the cuts because we know our members take pride in their work and local citizens wants to read a local paper which contains local news, sports and leisure."

The company claims these decisions are being made amid "worsening trading conditions". However, Newsquest continues to rake in vast profits: the company recorded an operating profit of £71.7m in 2009.

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