Journalists from Shropshire newspapers have voted unanimously to ballot for strike action as they face the prospect of compulsory redundancies.
Midland News Association, which also publishes Wolverhampton based Express and Star, was seeking around 30 voluntary redundancies at the Shropshire title but so far only 15 have put themselves forward.
Journalists at the title are now demanding a guarantee from management that there will be no compulsory editorial job losses.
Up to 49 compulsory job cuts are in prospect across the MNA as it seeks to reduce its headcount by 90 – a tenth of its workforce. A points system is expected to be used to decide who will lose their jobs.
National Union of Journalists’ northern and midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “Our members at Shropshire Newspapers are greatly concerned at the appalling prospect of compulsory redundancies.They also fear for the future of their titles and the communities they serve if the cuts go too deep.
“The journalists stand united in wanting to defend any NUJ member who may be faced with being ejected from their jobs, so we are now starting the process of balloting for strike action to allow for this option.
“Our members would rather be concentrating on putting their newspapers and web stories together than having to fight for their jobs.
“But the company should be warned that our members are in no mood to roll over and see people forced out the door. They have shown they are willing to stand up for jobs and journalism in the past and are ready to do the same again.”
Around 60 jobs are expected to be lost overall at the Express and Star, with 26 staff so far having volunteered to go.
MNA managing director Alan Harris was not available for comment.