Wandsworth Guardian Staff Vote To Strike

NUJ members unanimously vote for action over redundancies, staffing levels and pay

Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest in Sutton, which publishes local papers such as the Wandsworth Guardian, have voted to take strike action. They are protesting against plans to merge its South East and South West London operations. The titles affected will include the Wandsworth Guardian, the Balham and Tooting Guardian and the Richmond & Twickenham Times.

According to the NUJ, Newsquest plans to merge the South West London and South East London editorial departments and ask South East London reporters to work remotely. The plans also include job cuts and redundancies which will impact on a range of posts including group editor, editor, deputy editor, assistant editor, news editor, editorial assistants, online commercial content developer, deputy news editor, assistant news editor, chief reporters and senior sports roles.

The new structure is proposed to take effect from Friday 26 June 2015.

NUJ national organiser Laura Davison announced the vote for strike action, saying: "We have a clear message from our members that they have had enough and are prepared to take strike action. It isn't just the latest threats of redundancies. It is the attrition of cuts upon cuts and the lack of investment in the newspapers and websites which have led to high workloads and stress. Gannett, the American parent company, is able to pay its CEO, Gracia Martore, in excess of £7.5m but is reluctant to award its staff here the most modest of pay increases.

"We have written to John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, outlining what has been a nightmare month for local newspapers. This week, Trinity Mirror announced it was putting 45 jobs at risk in the Midlands and Scotland, the NUJ has a 24-hour strike at the Rotherham Advertiser next week over the proposed redundancy of Phil Turner, the newspaper's FoC, and Newsquest is to lay off photographers and picture desk staff at the Swindon Advertiser, Wiltshire Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times."

June 10, 2015