23 November 2014

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'Stourbridge Ten' call off strike action

Strike action planned by a group of journalists over proposals to move three sub-editors to a production hub 27 miles away has been called off.

Ten members of the National Union of Journalists had voted for strikes after regional publisher Newsquest revealed its plans, which would affect a number of West Midlands weeklies.

The company aims to use an existing subbing hub in Worcester for titles currently produced at Stourbridge, which include the Stourbridge News, Halesowen News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Advertiser and Redditch Advertiser.

The union members – known as the ‘Stourbridge Ten’ – planned to hold an initial one-hour strike on Tuesday but this was called off and the NUJ has ruled out industrial action at this stage.

And it has also emerged the move to Worcester, which was confirmed earlier this month and had been due to be completed by the middle of August, will not now take place until September.

NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said there had been an ‘outcome’ for two members which had influenced the chapel’s decision not to strike but would not give further details of this.

He said: “For the members involved there has been an outcome – I wouldn’t call it a resolution.

“They know what the situation is and that is acceptable to them. The details are being worked out on that.

“After some lengthy consultation with which both myself and the chapel were involved, it is not intended that the plan will be put into place until September, so the chapel will be looking for more assurances about how it will be implemented.

“At the end of the day, the objections that the chapel had about the hub still stand. They are concerned not only for those members involved directly but how that impacts on newsrooms who have to work without sub-editors.”

Mr Morley added the chapel would reserve the right to ballot again if it felt this necessary.

Newsquest Stourbridge publisher Peter John confirmed the move would take place in the week beginning 6 September but did not want to comment further.



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