Business Secretary Vince Cable has thrown his weight behind journalists unhappy about plans by Newsquest to make redundancies.
His local paper, the Richmond and Twickenham Times, is one of those affected by an announcement last week to make an unspecified number of redundancies among editorial staff over the next three months.
But Mr Cable said he is ‘very concerned’ about the plans because the title is a ‘highly regarded local paper’.
After the announcement, members of the National Union of Journalists’ chapel at Newsquest South West London passed a unanimous vote of no confidence against regional managing director Roger Mills and director of advertising Dene Stuart.
The chapel also unanimously agreed to hold a ballot for strike action, which will start next Monday, because of the proposed redundancies – with 25 NUJ members at newspaper offices in Twickenham and Sutton taking part.
Mr Cable said: “It’s a very important part of the local community and the Richmond and Twickenham Times has long been a highly regarded local paper with a good record. It is something that binds the community together.
“I know it has been under financial pressure for a long time because of the internet and problems with advertising but this is very worrying news – I’m very concerned about it.”
Two news editors in Newsquest’s Twickenham office have already been told one of them could lose their jobs under the restructure but other proposed redundancies have not yet been revealed by the company.
Mr Mills was not available for comment at the time of publication.