As Newsquest South London journalists ballot, NUJ warns Culture Secretary over 'devastating cuts'

National Union of Journalists members at Newsquest South London are balloting for strike action over proposed redundancies and a planned merger between South West and South East London operations.

The union has also announced that it will be writing to the new Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, to highlight its concerns over "devastating cuts".

Revealed last week, the merger plans will impact a number of jobs, 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.

The newspaper titles affected are: 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.

Laura Davison, NUJ organiser, said: “The NUJ will be writing to the new Culture Secretary and others to highlight what is happening in Newsquest London and across the company. 

"This programme of devastating cuts will make it much more difficult to hold people in power to account and to produce the high quality content readers and advertisers want. 

"Our members are putting forward absolutely legitimate concerns about increased workloads, the impact on quality and the need for investment in editorial and these must be addressed.”

A South London NUJ chapel said in a statement: "Newsquest is continuing to fail in its duty of care to its staff, and also failing the communities in which it operates.

"With the CEO of Gannett, Gracia Martore earning in excess of £7.5m and the company earning £52.8 million profit in 2013 for Newsquest, the US-owned UK subsidiary of Gannett, the business is more than able to invest to ensure its long-term future and we once again urge the company not to go down the road of short-term, damaging cost cutting."

The new structure is proposed to take effect from 26 June.

Yesterday, the NUJ announced that members at Newsquest in York were balloting for action over a number of proposed job cuts.

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