Newsquest south London strike stalls for talks
4 October 2016
A 14-day strike by journalists working on newspapers owned by Newsquest in south London has been postponed as management agreed to talks with ACAS, the arbitration service.
The chapel had voted to take action from Thursday 8 October following company plans to put nearly all the newsroom staff at risk of redundancy. This would leave 12 reporters, one content editor and three sub-editors to produce 11 newspapers and eight associated websites.
The chapel also wanted to highlight concerns about health and safety at work, inadequate staffing levels, excessive workloads and deterioration in the quality of local journalism due to consecutive local cuts. Six reporters have resigned since the redundancies announcement.
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.
Newsquest management had agreed to go to talks with ACAS on Monday, but then pulled out. Now talks will start tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"Newsquest management must come to the table willing to engage in meaningful talks, with a genuine commitment to find a constructive way forward. This latest wave of cuts at the south London titles is a killer blow to quality journalism. Deep concern from politicians of all hues shows just how serious the situation is for local democracy.
"The NUJ will be entering these talks in good faith and Newsquest will further strengthen the chapel's resolve if it is not prepared to reach a compromise.
"The situation at south London has also exposed that contrary to Newsquest refusing national talks with the union because local areas are autonomous, it is central management pulling the strings. Chief executive Henry Faure Walker must stop this charade.”
The journalists have also ended a work to rule while talks continue.
The chapel sent thanks to all the messages for support it has received, plus pledges to its strike fund. If you are sending a donation can you also please email Bernard Roche at firstname.lastname@example.org noting the amount and send the money to:
Account number 20143387
Sort code 608301