Journalists at Express Newspapers will ballot on industrial action unless management backs down on plans for £2m of cuts to editorial.
Staff were told last week of proposals to merge the sports desks of the Star and Express titles, move City desk production to the papers’ growing operation in Broughton, Lancashire, and make redundancies on the picture desk.
At NUJ chapel meetings attended by about 150 members on Thursday and Friday, journalists agreed to hold a strike ballot if the planned cuts go ahead.
An Express Newspapers insider said: “We’ve had a whole series of cuts over the years and the general consensus is that this is going too far. We are already probably the most cost-effective national newspapers and people feel that they are working very hard and under pressure already.
“It is only going to make matters worse for us as journalists and worse for the newspapers as a whole.”
In 2001, editorial numbers on the Star and Express titles fell from 540 to around 400.
Express Newspapers declined to comment about the latest proposed cuts.
Daily Record and Sunday Mail journalists in Glasgow say they will strike if compulsory redundancies go ahead.
The NUJ said little progress was made at a meeting on Tuesday between union officials and Trinity Mirror.
Some 75 per cent of NUJ members who voted called for strike action following the closure of a 10-strong editorial picture retouching department.
It has been replaced with a new team of three based in the advertising section.
According to the NUJ, the three members of staff who were given jobs in the new team all previously had management roles under the old system. Of the remaining seven staff affected, three have taken redundancy and four are still in dispute with the company.
NUJ Scotland organiser Paul Holleran said: “People say this is a slippery slope. If they get away with making these people redundant, no one’s safe.”
A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “The company has honoured all agreements with staff and unions, and has consulted fully with those affected.
“We have also presented them with genuine alternative employment opportunities. The selection procedure for the new positions was scrupulously fair and was based on the relative competencies, skills and experience of the candidates.
“We will continue to work hard to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion for all concerned.”
By Dominic Ponsford