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Strikes set for Newsquest titles in south London

5 June 2015

Journalists working on Newsquest titles in south London based in Sutton have voted unanimously for strike action over redundancies, staffing levels and pay.

Last month the company announced plans to restructure and cut staff in the region. Newsquest is one of the UK's largest regional newspaper publishers with more than 200 newspapers, magazines and trade publications, including 17 dailies.

The newspaper titles to be affected by the proposed cuts include: The Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Balham and Tooting Guardian, Mitcham and Morden Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Surrey Comet, Elmbridge Comet, and the Richmond & Twickenham Times. The News Shopper series has editions in Dartford, Lewisham, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bexley and Bromley.

The company plans to merge the South West London and South East London editorial departments and ask South East London reporters to work remotely. The plans also include job cuts and redundancies will impact on a range of posts including group editor, editor, deputy editor, assistant editor, news editor, editorial assistants, online commercial content developer, deputy news editor, assistant news editor, chief reporters and senior sports roles.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

"We have a clear message from our members that they have had enough and are prepared to take strike action. It isn't just the latest threats of redundancies. It is the attrition of cuts upon cuts and the lack of investment in the newspapers and websites which have led to high workloads and stress. Gannett, the American parent company, is able to pay its CEO, Gracia Martore, in excess of £7.5m but is reluctant to award its staff here the most modest of pay increases.

"We have written to John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, outlining what has been a nightmare month for local newspapers. This week, Trinity Mirror announced it was putting 45 jobs at risk in the Midlands and Scotland, the NUJ has a 24-hour strike at the Rotherham Advertiser next week over the proposed redundancy of Phil Turner, the newspaper's FoC, and Newsquest is to lay off photographers and picture desk staff at the Swindon Advertiser, Wiltshire Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times."

NUJ members working on Newsquest titles in York have also voted to take industrial action over redundancies and high workloads.

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