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More Newsquest journalists vote for strike action

Journalists at Newsquest-owned titles in London and Sussex have joined colleagues from the North West in voting to take strike action.

On Monday the National Union of Journalists announced that its Warrington and Blackburn chapels had voted for strike action in the ongoing dispute over the transfer of work to the company’s South Wales production hub.

Now NUJ members at Newsquest Sussex, which includes Brighton daily The Argus, have voted by 63.6pc to 36.4pc to take action over similar plans to switch production to a subbing hub in Weymouth.

And journalists working on the South London Guardian series have also voted for action, this time over pay and plans to close one of the weekly titles in the stable, the Elmbridge Guardian.

Three journalists’ jobs are said to be at risk as a result of the proposed closure of the paper, which has a free distribution of 22,853.

According to the NUJ, staff at the Guardian titles have only had one pay increase in the past six years.

Newsquest confirmed last month that six subbing posts are to be lost as a result of the plan to switch production of The Argus to Weymouth.

The jobs in question are based in Southampton where the Brighton paper is currently produced.

Laura Davison, national organiser, said: “NUJ members in South London and Brighton are committed to producing quality local journalism. They can’t stand by while Newsquest cuts costs, closes offices and titles, holds down pay, piles up the work and makes experienced journalists redundant with little compensation.

“These results show members will take a stand to highlight the damage being done to their local titles. People who want their communities to have strong vibrant news content which holds power to account should back these NUJ members in any action they decide to take and ask Newsquest to stop, listen and act on their legitimate concerns.”

No-one from Newsquest has so far been available for comment.  Earlier today the company described the votes in Warrington and Blackburn as “extremely disappointing” and insisted the journalistic quality of its products was “of paramount importance.”


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  • June 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Good luck. Knowing someone who was a former employee of a London Newsquest title I know what blood suckers they are.

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  • June 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Good luck to everyone in Blackburn and elsewhere. These are people with nothing to lose. A concerted effort – a lengthy strike – will land a blow on Newsquest. It will never give in; the affected staff will not be keeping their jobs in their respected locations but it is important that they go down fighting. They very much owe it to themselves. At the same time, is it all a little late? When subs moved from Bolton to Blackburn, no-one batted an eyelid, when the Bolton News made the photo desk editor redundant, no one rose up, when the front desk counter lost staff it passed without comment and when the Bury Times closed its Bury office and moved to Bolton, there were mumblings but no proper action. And then they came for us… Time to stand up and fight properly this time.

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  • June 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Thank God I’ve retired from the newspaper game. It was a game in the old days. A lot of fun. I enjoyed every minute. Now? It must be a nightmare for the poor devils toiling away. I’ve a lot of experience on both sides of the union / management divide and I have to say that management have always won. Hacks just don’t have the solidarity and determination to succeed. There will always be three or four who will side with miserable outfits and papers of sorts will struggle out. These people won’t have any shame. There’s just one glimmer of hope. In the old days hacks had too much to lose; a fun job and decent pay. Now they have nothing to lose – except a bit of pride and camaraderie.

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  • June 16, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I don’t think The Argus strike will have an impact, although I hope it does. A friend used to work there and he said many of the reporters won’t walk as they are employed on a zero hours basis. The management has them over a barrel.
    The news is often days out of date anyway and yet they still produce a paper.
    From what I’ve heard from a number of different people I suspect the management doesn’t care how good the quality of the paper is, just that it is there so advertising can continue.
    I know a lot of very good staff have left The Argus over the past few years. A talented, hard-working news-desk left, to be replaced with a very inexperienced lot, two experienced crime correspondents left, the politics correspondents both walked out – one after just a few months.
    From what I can gather virtually the only people left are inexperienced – which is no criticism of them – but it is quickly becoming a paper with very few people who know the industry.
    It’s a shame because Brighton is a wonderful place and a great patch. The readers who remain expect a quality product and it isn’t being delivered.
    Numerous people in the industry have all linked this back to the editor, who by all accounts is unpleasant.
    Whether or not this is true – I don’t know – the paper has not flourished under him.
    I think it’s a shame.
    Good luck with the strike.

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