More details have emerged of the planned job cuts at weekly titles in Newquest’s South West London division that have triggered a strike ballot by staff.
National Union of Journalists’ members across the division are currently balloting on industrial action with the result to be announced on Tuesday.
According to the union, up to 12 jobs are at risk of redundancy including an entire eight-person sports and leisure department based at Sutton.
Titles affected include the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian and Wimbledon Guardian.
The union claims that two sports editors, two sports writers, two leisure writers and two subs based at Sutton are among those whose jobs are set to go.
They say it would mean news, sport and leisure for seven newspapers being produced by a total of only twelve reporters, plus two editors.
NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: “The company’s short-sighted business model has reached a level where adverts are in danger of being increasingly ignored as readers toss their disappearing newspapers away unread.
“These cuts threaten the future survival of local newspapers in south London. Newsquest makes millions of pounds worth of profit and at the same time they want to axe our members jobs and retreat from quality local journalism.
“The union is balloting for action in response to the cuts because we know our members take pride in their work and local citizens wants to read a local paper which contains local news, sports and leisure.”
Newsquest London managing director Roger Mills was unavailable for comment.