Journalists already on strike over cuts at Newsquest’s south London office have voted to extend the industrial action by a further five days.
It comes as the publisher ended a consultation over plans to axe 11 jobs without meeting staff “whose roles are due to change radically”, according to the National Union of Journalists.
- May 4, 2021
- April 14, 2021
- March 5, 2021
The union has also revealed that seven journalists have resigned over the cuts, which saw 27 out of 29 journalists at the headquarters in Sutton placed at risk of redundancy.
It claimed Newsquest had intended to leave 12 reporters covering news, sport and leisure across 11 newspapers and eight websites under a single content editor from Monday next week.
However, the NUJ has said there will now be nine reporters to cover titles in London and Surrey with the sports team, leisure editor and three news editors due to leave on Friday.
An NUJ south London chapel spokesperson said: “Our centre’s annual cost has dropped by about £380,000 since March, because departing journalists have not been replaced and photographic coverage has been slashed.
“On top of that, Newsquest wants to save more than £250,000, and has simply refused to negotiate. Our strike continues and our resolve is undiminished.
“All we want is to report the news and celebrate our communities.
“We totally reject Newsquest’s plan for reduced coverage and generic content that will rob local communities with the news and features relevant to where they live.
“By reducing the quality of the newspapers and websites, how can we build up circulation and be a viable prospect for advertisers?”
A 14-day strike had initially been planned but was suspended to allow for last minute talks that quickly broke down, culminating in a seven-day strike that had been due to finish on Wednesday.
With the extension, the strike will now run until Wednesday next week.
A Newsquest spokesman said: “It’s disappointing that the NUJ are extending their strike action – especially as they are fully aware of the trading position of the South London newspapers, and the need to reduce their cost base to ensure a sustainable future.
“During talks the NUJ and its members were invited to discuss, review and propose a workable structure within a reduced cost base which they have failed to do, sadly as a result talks broke down.
“Clearly it is regrettable that this restructuring placed a number of roles at risk of redundancy, but we have done this to ensure that the South London business- which is made up of free newspaper titles -has a credible future.
“We hope the NUJ will reconsider. We will continue to publish.”