Newsquest London journalists to work to rule

Journalists working for Newsquest in London are to start industrial action next Friday in a dispute with local management over redundancies, pay and quality news content.

A total of 27 journalists at Sutton, Surrey and in Twickenham will work to rule from next week.

However, members of the National Union of Journalists are offering to work an extra hour per day to secure the quality of their papers, provided Newsquest restores the amount of editorial space it publishes in a number of its London titles.

A number of Newsquest weekly papers in South and West London have undergone pagination cuts in recent weeks with key editorial pages in some titles reduced by half.

Pagination has been reduced across Newsquest’s Guardian series of papers, the Surrey Comet and the Richmond & Twickenham Times.

“Our members are prepared to work as hard possible, as they have always done, to ensure that the newspapers and websites are of the best quality possible and communities are being properly served,” said NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox.

“In light of the changes in the titles’ editorial space, members are extremely concerned about the plummeting quality of the products.

“We are concerned that the papers may not be providing the good service to their communities that they have done in the past.”

Following the reduction in pagination in February Newsquest told staff working on its papers in London that it would also accept requests for voluntary redundancy.

Roger Mills, managing director for Newsquest London, briefed staff that due to worsening trading conditions the company had opened a redundancy programme.

This redundancy threat has angered members of the NUJ, who are also demanding their employer honours an agreed two per cent pay rise.

The NUJ said last night it was still awaiting a response from Newsquest to its offer – made when local manager began seeking redundancy volunteers – to take the dispute to the conciliation service ACAS.

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