Vote for strike action in Darlington as production of North-east papers moved to Wales
31 January 2014
Journalists on Newsquest titles in Darlington have voted in favour of strike action following the newspaper group's decision to move editorial production to Newport, Wales, resulting in redundancies.
NUJ members voted by 75 per cent for strike action and 93 per cent for action short of a strike.
The proposal will involve the loss of 10 full-and part-time sub-editing jobs and one writer's job on the Northern Echo, the daily regional newspaper based in Darlington. The transfer of work to Wales is part of a process also affecting Newsquest centres at York and Bradford. In total more than 20 editorial jobs will be lost from the region. The York and Bradford ballots close on Wednesday 5 February.
The Darlington chapel said:
"We are delighted to get such a strong vote in favour of industrial action. It clearly shows the strength of feeling among members against the proposals to transfer the work to Wales and potential redundancies. We, along with the York and Bradford chapels, will continue to fight to retain members' jobs and keep production of our valued publications in the North."
The Darlington titles are the Northern Echo, Living magazine, Darlington & Stockton Times, Durham Times, Advertiser series and Northern Farmer.
Jane Kennedy, assistant organiser Northern and Midlands region, said:
"We are delighted with the ballot result. But, it comes as no surprise. People are angry at the proposed moved to Newport which they believe will significantly diminish the quality of the papers produced and their connection to the local communities, create impossible workloads for those staff who are left and cause distress and hardship to those who lose their jobs.
"The callous way this has been handled has left hard-working and dedicated journalists feeling as if they are no more than numbers on a balance sheet. The strength of the result shows that they wanted their voices to be heard loudly and clearly that enough is enough. We look forward to the ballot results in York and Bradford next week and have every confidence that they too will produce a yes vote."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"This is a very strong vote for action, which reflects the attitude of the staff, I expect the chapels in York and Bradford to follow suit. Newsquest, an American-owned company, clearly has no loyalty to its readers or staff. Local papers should be produced in the heart of the communities they serve, not 200 miles away in another country."