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Twelve-day strike set for Newsquest titles in south London

9 June 2015

The NUJ chapel representing journalists working on Newsquest titles in south London has called for a 12-day strike in its dispute over redundancies, staffing levels and pay.

The strike will be followed by a work to rule.

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.

A spokesman for the chapel said:

"We have a very strong mandate for action from our members. We would prefer not to have to take strike action, but the management's decision has given us no option. We care about our readers and the communities we serve. Further cuts to staff will have an effect on the quality of the newspapers we produce and will add to the already-low morale among poorly-paid staff. The union remains willing to seek a resolution to the dispute with management."

Staff are particularly aggrieved because 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 in the UK most modest of pay increases.

The strike action will take place from 00.01 Monday 15 June to 23.59 on Friday 26 June.The work to rule will start at 00.01 on Monday 29 June.

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.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, has written a letter to John Whittingdale, culture, media and sports secretary, about the Newsquest dispute and a wave of redundancies in local newspapers.

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