Strike vote over 'illogical centralisation' at Newsquest

Newsquest journalists in the North of England will vote on whether to take industrial action against plans to centralise production operations next week.

According to the NUJ Newsquest wants to transfer editorial production of its free titles in Darlington and York – along with its paid-for weeklies and magazines – to Bradford over the next six months. The proposals, which would see the loss of 14 jobs the union claims, come weeks after an editorial reorganisation at Darlington that saw the merger of its weekly and daily subbing teams.

NUJ chapels in Bradford and York voted for possible strike action earlier this year, which was only avoided when Newsquest lifted a three-year pay freeze.

The NUJ said it sought region-wide collective consultation on the latest proposals but claim this was turned down by management.

NUJ northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: ‘Newsquest needs to convince us, their staff and in all probability themselves, that this plan can work but management has shied away from that debate. At some point Newsquest will have to stop the cuts and start taking all their staff with them – in all senses of the words.

‘Journalists at Newsquest have endured a series of damaging job cuts and illogical centralisation of editorial production through schemes which are destroying the quality of their newspapers and reader confidence. The effect on the morale of dedicated professional journalists has been shocking.

‘So, the decision to vote on industrial action was inevitable following the latest attack on jobs and security by this discredited management. The NUJ is ready to defend our members and quality journalism with fierce determination”

Ballot papers will be sent out to around 80 NUJ members at Darlington, Durham, Northallerton, Bishop Auckland and York next Tuesday, and the vote is scheduled to close on 3 May.

Press Gazette contacted Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson for a comment this afternoon. He was not available to speak.

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