Journalists in South London have today taken to the picket line for two days dressed as cowboys in protest over job cuts.
Around 38 NUJ members who work for Newsquest South London’s Guardian newspapers will picket outside the Twickenham and Sutton offices until tomorrow evening.
The union members chose to strike over the closure of the sports and leisure department in Suutton which will lead to eight job losses and mean the remaining news reporters will have to to take on extra work.
Adopting a Wild West theme, the members will wave placards stating ‘Wanted: Newsquest for the death of local newspapers.’
Newspapers affected by the proposed cutbacks include the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian and Wimbledon Guardian.
Mother of the chapel for South London NUJ Thais Portilho-Shrimpton said: “Our NUJ chapel believes these redundancies will be seriously detrimental to the quality of our newspapers, which have already been cut in size and feature increasing amounts of advertising rather than editorial.
“The editorial department has offered Newsquest a new online revenue-generating idea, which is already being rolled out in Sutton and Twickenham, to help save the £210k Newsquest South London says it must cut from its annual budget.”
Union members are currently working to rule and have offered to call off the strike if management extend the consultation period for the redundancies until 1 September to give them time to put its idea forward.
Newsquest London managing director Roger Mills was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Union members voted by 22 to one in favour of the strike.