Strike ballot follows Newsquest London no-confidence

Journalists at Newsquest‘s London titles are set to ballot on strike action after declaring a vote of no confidence in two senior managers.

Wednesday’s vote of no confidence came on the same day management announced editorial redundancies across papers in the region including the Surrey Comet and the Richmond & Twickenham Times.

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

On 15 April, 27 journalists in Sutton, Surrey and in Twickenham began working to rule following a ballot of NUJ members triggered by a request for voluntary redundancies at the end of February.

In the latest redundancy announcement on Wednesday, managing director Roger Mills said an unspecified number of editorial staff would be made redundant including one of two news editors.

Within hours of the announcement NUJ members passed the vote of no confidence in Mills and advertising director Dene Stuart.

Yesterday, they voted to hold a strike ballot within the next ten days.

Members claim the redundancies are being made despite continued substantial profits at the titles.

Mother of the chapel Thais Portilho-Shrimpton said the union had made four demands to management which had not been met:

  • To reverse the pagination cuts
  • Guarantee no further redundancies
  • A two per cent pay rise (there has been a three-year pay freeze)
  • Financial support for travel, which members claim increased by as a much 30 per cent following relocation from North Cheam to Sutton.

In a letter to Mills on behalf of NUJ members, Portilho-Shrimpton said: ‘We feel your continued reliance on cost-cutting to increase profits shows little of the vision which would be expected of a senior manager in other private companies.

‘While editorial staff have consistently worked above and beyond their contracts to create decent, sellable products which are respected in the community, they have seen scant leadership qualities from you in return.”

Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson did not a return a call for comment.

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