NUJ mobilises for Argus ballot

NUJ members at The Argus in Brighton have agreed to ballot for industrial action if management refuses to rule out compulsory redundancies as part of the latest round of job cuts at the title.

Management at Newsquest Sussex set a 31 July deadline for staff to apply for voluntary redundancy. The company is looking to axe 10 journalists’ jobs, reducing the editorial team from 79 to 69, merging the paper’s two daily editions and closing the weekly Sports Argus.

Jeremy Dear, the NUJ general secretary, has met staff on the title to discuss potential action and a resolution has been drawn up rejecting compulsory job losses and mandating members to ballot for action if these go ahead, the union said.

Union reps have also written to Argus editor, Michael Beard, asking for details on which parts of the editorial team will be affected by the cuts.

‘They still haven’t been specific,’one journalist told Press Gazette. ‘People are angry – they feel the whole thing could have been handled a little bit better than this.”

Staff at the Sussex daily were told of the proposed cuts last month. The Argus’s two daily editions – covering Brighton and the county of Sussex – will be combined in what has been described by management as a reaction to ‘the current economic climate”.

The weekly Sports Argus, which has an audited circulation of 2,663, will also be axed next month.

Newsquest Sussex managing director Martyn Willis declined to comment. In an earlier statement, he said: ‘We will try to minimise the impact through voluntary redundancy and redeployment to alternative positions.”

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