London local newspaper journalists to strike for 12 days in protest at Newsquest job cuts

The National Union of Journalists chapel at Newsquest in South London has called for a 12-day strike over redundancies, staffing levels and pay. (Shutterstock picture: Battersea in Wandsworth)

The union said the strike action, followed by a work to rule, will begin next Monday, 15 June, and last until Friday 26 June.

The newspaper titles affected 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 is also involved and has editions in Dartford, Lewisham, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bexley and Bromley.

The strike is in response to Newsquest plans which would see the South West and South East London offices merged.

The plans also, according to the union, put the posts of group editor, editor, deputy editor, assistant editor and news editor at risk.

Two senior sports journalist roles across South East and South West London will be replaced, under the scheme, with one content editor (sports).

The number of editorial assistants will be cut from two to one and the roles of online commercial content developer, deputy news editor, assistant news editor and chief reporters jobs are also at risk of redundancy.

There are said to be 11 vacancies within the proposed restructure for Newsquest South London. Those at risk of redundancy will be considered for six content editor (news) jobs, four reporter (news) jobs and one sports reporter job.  

The new structure was proposed to take effect from Friday 26 June 2015.

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."

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