Eight jobs are under threat at the Northern Echo in Darlington as a result of plans to merge its subbing operation with weekly sister titles.
It could spell a fresh wave of industrial trouble for Newsquest which is already facing two 48-hour strikes announced by NUJ members in Southampton over the company’s continuing pay freeze.
Journalists at the Newsquest-owned Argus in Brighton are also holding a strike ballot over plans to cut the number of sub-editors based there.
The proposed redundancies in Darlington include axing two sub editors, one reporter, one assistant editor, a production editor, website assistant, librarian and graphic designer.
All existing sub-editors will be forced to apply for posts within the new combined team.
Cost savings from the loss of the eight posts are expected to be in excess of £150,000 a year.
Company accounts show that the Newsquest North-East division made an after-tax profit of £3.2m last year.
Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “The continued attack on editorial quality at a flagship centre like the Northern Echo through continued, deep and damaging job cuts shows the company’s disdain for hard working staff.
“It is also clear Newsquest has no concern for quality journalism and the long-term future of its titles.
“Our members are the company’s best assets and they are sick of being treated with contempt with a seemingly endless pay freeze and other constant attacks on their terms and conditions by a management that appears to view its staff as an enemy.”
Echo editor Peter Barron declined to respond to the NUJ’s comments.