Ten sub-editors on the Northern Echo have been given the choice of moving 270 miles away to South Wales or losing their jobs.
As previously reported on HTFP, publisher Newsquest wants to transfer production roles at its Darlington, York and Bradford centres to a subbing hub in Newport.
More details of the plan have now emerged, with the National Union of Journalists claiming 11 roles at the Darlington-based Echo are under threat, including the chief feature writer whose role is being made redundant.
The other ten journalists affected – all sub-editors and other production staff – have been given the option of transferring to Newport.
Three new positions are also being created in Darlington for a deputy head of production, night production editor and features writer and coordinator.
The NUJ said more than 20 jobs were at risk in total across the three sites in the North of England, including 11 at Darlington and five at York.
Earlier this month, the union announced it would hold a ballot for industrial action over the plans and chapel representatives who had taken part in consultations said that management had “refused to budge an inch” on the proposals.
The strike ballot in Darlington will close tomorrow and the ones in York and Bradford will close next week.
NUJ members in Wales have given their support to the journalists affected, issuing a statement extending “support and solidarity.”
It said: “The NUJ Wales Executive Council would like to extend its support and solidarity to colleagues working for Newsquest and currently balloting for action in Bradford, York and Darlington.
“The dispute is in response to the threat of compulsory redundancies and the impact on quality and workloads after the proposed transfer of subbing work to Newport, Wales.
“Our union campaigns to protect local media jobs and local journalism. We believe that to move work away from the communities can only harm the titles and local democracy.
“The local press plays a crucial role in holding politicians or local councils to account. Local newspapers should be produced locally. The NUJ in Wales supports the calls for Newsquest to stop the threats to force journalists out of their jobs.”
No one from Newsquest had responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.