30 January 2015

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High Noon as journalists hit picket line over job cuts

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.

Union members on the picket line

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.


  1. Currant Bun, Here

    Why do we never get a comment from the companies involved? Why isn’t Roger Mills available for comment? Why are none of them ever available for comment? If they plan to rip the heart out of local journalism and place people in extreme financial hardship, they could at least have the decency to come on here and explain why. Not responding is pathetic and cowardly.

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  2. stewart perkins, market drayton

    Management not available for comment and not prepared to extend the consultation period shows what safe hands our papers are in. Good luck and well done to the NUJ.

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  3. jmjb, Staffordshire

    I agree – well done, NUJ. It’s about time someone tried to stand up to the vicious and cowardly Newsquest. Overall they make vast profits but they can’t seem to get it into their thick heads that cutting staff, reducing editorial content and quality will hasten the demise of newspapers even more. So stupid.

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  4. observer, uk

    I am so pleased to see another group of journalists standing up Newsquest. I wish the NUJ well in their struggle.

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  5. The reverend, London

    Roger Mills’ journalists spend all their working lives asking everyone to explain their actions in the name of news, but when he is in the spotlight the rules are very different….

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  6. Pete Feenstra, Sutton

    Very sorry to hear this, both the Leisure and Sports pages are an integral part of any vibrant local paper….in fact I guess two of the most read parts of the paper!!

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