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London strike action gets ‘yes’ vote

Journalists at Newquest’s South West London division have voted overwhelmingly in favour strike following the announcement of up to 12 job cuts.

Union members voted by 22 to one in favour of the strike in protest over job cuts at the nine titles, while all voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The company’s south west division includes the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian and Wimbledon Guardian.

According to the union, of the 12 jobs at risk of redundancy, eight of those will affect the sports and leisure department based at Sutton.

Mother of the chapel, Thais Portilho-Shrimpton, said they had been told by management that the cuts were to make savings of £210k by the end of June. Since the announcement in April they have been working-to-rule.

Said Thais: “The papers have been so small that working-to-rule has hardly had any effect. I am still going to council meetings but have stopped Tweeting from them.”

She said that before February the Croydon Guardian averaged between 21-22 news pages, it now has around nine.

She added: “We will do whatever we can. We will take action against Newsquest if we have to. We are going to have to see what happens because all of the people up for redundancy have got until the end of June, so they may all be gone by then. If they are gone we will have to re-think our strategy.”

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.

Newsquest London managing director Roger Mills was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

A date for the strike action will be fixed tomorrow (Wednesday).