NUJ chapels in Bradford and York vote for strike action over Newsquest's subbing hub threat

Journalists in Bradford have voted 80 per cent in favour of strike action against Newsquest’s Welsh subbing hub plan.

The National Union of Journalists balloted staff after Newsquest threatened compulsory redundancies as part of its move to a centralised subbing hub.

There was a unanimous vote for action short of a strike in support of the ten jobs under risk.

There are five further jobs at risk in York where 83 per cent of NUJ members backed the strike plan.

This follows a successful strike ballot in Darlington last month over the same redundancy threat.

Some of the sub-editors face relocating 270-miles away if they wish to keep their jobs or face the prospect of being made redundant.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser, said: "Members at all three Newsquest Yorkshire and North East centres have now delivered emphatic votes in favour of industrial action – not only to defend jobs in their newsrooms but also the quality of the journalism their communities rightfully expect.

"Newsquest should take close heed of this expression of anger and look to modify its plans that nobody but the corporate bean counters have anything good to say about.

"It is not too late for Newsquest bosses to take a fresh look at what their hard-pressed and badly let-down staff are telling them and pull back from the brink of a disastrous experiment that could cause irrevocable damage to their local businesses.

"It is not as if the group is doing badly and having to cut for survival’s sake. Gracia Martore, boss of US parent Gannett yesterday told American money markets that Newsquest was 'solidly profitable' and that she was expecting that the group as a whole would have a 'terrific' 2014. Figures for the last three months of 2013, also showed Newsquest’s digital income rose by almost 19 per cent."

Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, joint Fathers of Chapel at NUJ York, said: "The fact our members are overwhelming in favour of industrial action is the clearest possible sign of the anger Newsquest’s ill-conceived and thrown-together proposals have caused.

"They are not prepared to see talented, experienced, flexible and utterly dedicated journalists tossed aside and have their lives thrown into chaos because of Newsquest’s bizarre belief that subbing hubs – which have already proved disastrous and have harmed the editorial reputation of newspapers wherever they have been attempted – are somehow the answer.

"The Newport proposals are not about efficiency and they are not about quality journalism. They are purely so a very profitable company can cut even more costs by treating the people who matter in local journalism with contempt. We hope this ballot result, and those at our sister papers in Darlington and Bradford, will lead to a Newsquest rethink and the abandonment of these proposals."

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