Journalists at the Northwich Guardian have called on owners Newsquest to retain a base in the Cheshire town after it closed the paper’s high-street office and moved staff some 15 miles away.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said its members “understand the need for the closure” but said staff would like a base in the community they have served for the past 157 years.
Their plight has been supported by local Conservative MP Graham Evans, who said he was “keen if possible” for the weekly title to “maintain some sort of a foothold in the town”.
Staff were moved to the premises of the Warrington Guardian in Cygnet Court, Warrington, after their office in London Road, Northwich, was closed last week.
Jane Kennedy, NUJ Northern and Midlands assistant organiser, said: “While staff at Northwich recognise the need to make savings on the building they have occupied, they hope to be able to persuade local managers that a small base in the town would be a great asset for their reporters and it would demonstrate to the local community that Newsquest is still committed to Northwich.”
The union has also called on Newsquest to offer pay increases to staff on its titles in the North West where teams have been “cut to the bone” by redundancies.
In December, a photographer at the Lancashire Telegraph, in Blackburn, and a content editor at the Bolton News were made redundant.
The NUJ has estimated that last year the Telegraph to have lost 8.5 jobs on average, with 10 posts lost at the News and 12 at the Warrington Guardian.
Kennedy said: “The number of redundancies in the North West might appear to be small, but these teams have already been cut to the bone and those left behind have been put under further pressure at work.
“We are calling on Newsquest to reward those who are still working at the titles with a pay increase this year, to reflect the increased workloads and additional skills required to produce the local newspaper titles.
“Without their hardworking and dedicated staff, the company has nothing.”
According to ABC figures to December 2015, the paid-for Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich Guardian has an average total circulation of 9,867 copies.
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