Newsquest's Stourbridge staff to ballot on industrial action

Journalists at Newsquest‘s Stourbridge operation are to ballot on possible industrial action over plans to move three sub-editing jobs to the company’s ‘hub’in Worcester.

The National Union of Journalists sent papers to ten members at Stourbridge last week to establish if they would be willing to take action over proposals to shift colleagues to a subbing centre 30 miles away.

According to the union, the proposal could result in two senior journalists leaving Stourbridge.

The union fears moving the posts to Worcester risks lowering the quality of the six newspapers currently produced at Stourbridge which included the Stourbridge News, Halesowen News, Dudley News and the Bromsgrove Advertiser.

Chris Morley, NUJ organiser, said: “The loss of experienced senior journalists from this centre would weaken the support available to more junior staff.

‘Cuts have left huge workloads on journalists and the proposals as they stand will make this worse.

‘A reasonable, alternative strategy has been put forward by the union that would avoid the worst effects of the company’s proposals but I am not convinced that management will listen to logical arguments alone.”

Peter John, publisher of Newsquest Stourbridge, wrote to staff earlier this month telling them the company had set in motion a ‘consultation process with the news sub-editors at Stourbridge over a proposal for the work they currently carry out to be moved to the Worcester central subbing department”.

Her added: ‘If implemented, this proposal would improve the day-to-day production of the papers and allow the Stourbridge Editors to concentrate on improvements to news gathering, content quality and website development.

‘All sub-editors currently working at Stourbridge are being offered the chance to transfer.”

John declined to comment to Press Gazette today, saying it would not be appropriate while the company was in consultation with staff.

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