Eight jobs to go at Newsquest London, claim NUJ

Newsquest is axing its entire sport and leisure team in south west London, the NUJ claimed today.

Chief executive Paul Davidson was unavailable for comment, but the NUJ released a statement claiming two editors, two sport writers, two leisure writers and two subs will lose their jobs in Twickenham and Sutton.

The union claimed the cuts would mean news, sport and leisure coverage for seven newspapers would be produced by 12 reporters two editors.

Journalists balloted on industrial action on 16 May after management announced redundancies were in the pipeline, but this is the first time that specific details have emerged.

The results of the ballot will be revealed on 31 May.

Earlier this month NUJ members received the backing of Twickenham MP and Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable, who said he was ‘very concerned’about the cuts.

Members have already passed a vote of no confidence in two senior management figures at Newsquest – managing director Roger Mills and director of advertising Dene Stuart – and NUJ members in Sutton, Surrey and Twickenham have been working to rule since 15 April.

The row between NUJ members and management first erupted earlier this year when editorial pagination was cut across several titles.

NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: ‘The company’s short-sighted business model has reached a level where adverts are in danger of being increasingly ignored as readers toss their disappearing newspapers away unread.

‘The company claims these decisions are being made amid ‘worsening trading conditions’, but the reality is Newsquest continues to rake in vast profits, in 2009 the company recorded an operating profit of £71.7m.

‘These cuts threaten the future survival of local newspapers in south London. Newsquest makes millions of pounds worth of profit and at the same time they want to axe our members’ jobs and retreat from quality local journalism.

‘The union is balloting for action in response to the cuts because we know our members take pride in their work and local citizens want to read a local paper which contains local news, sports and leisure.”

The affected papers are: the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian and Wimbledon Guardian

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