After Manchester firefighters, now all Newquest journalists in south London at risk of redundancy

NewsquestJournalists working on newspapers owned by Newsquest in south London have voted to hold a 14-day strike starting next Thursday in response to company plans to put nearly all the newsroom staff at risk of redundancy.

The news comes just days after all 1,250 firefighters in Manchester were told they were being sacked.

The NUJ members in London want to put pressure on the company to re-think these plans and to highlight the chapel’s 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. Five reporters have resigned since the redundancy 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.

The two-week strike will start on 6 October at 00:01 hours until 23:59 hours on 19 October. The NUJ said it was willing to meet management to resolve these issues.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Conditions are tough in the newspaper market, but getting rid of dedicated and talented staff, leaving those remaining with impossible workloads, is not the answer.  A handful of reporters, with help from a few work experience students, cannot cover half the capital. This will damage the quality of the newspapers and websites and will have a knock-on effect on circulation figures.

“The huge response from local politicians and London Assembly members across the political spectrum shows they fear reduced news coverage will have a negative impact on local democracy and the holding to account of councils and local businesses. My members do not want to take this action, but they have been forced by a management which is intent on maintaining profit for shareholders at the expense of the health of its workforce.”

NUJ national organiser Laura Davison said:  “It is heart-breaking to see ambitious and enthusiastic young journalists being thwarted by unacceptable hours, a content management system which is not fit for purpose and poor working conditions. These newspapers have let go people with many years of experience and now staff are voting with their feet and getting out. This is putting huge pressure on those who remain.”

  • You can donate to the members’ strike fund here: sort code 608301 account number 20143387 . Please also email bernardr@nuj.org.uk noting the amount 

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