Journalists on Newsquest titles in the North of England are to hold a 24-hour strike next Tuesday over plans to move subbing roles to South Wales.
National Union of Journalists members at Bradford, York and Darlington voted to take industrial action in protest at the proposal to transfer production to the company’s subbing hub at Newport with the potential loss of 25 jobs.
The NUJ says 10 jobs are at risk in Bradford, five in York and 10 in Darlington, although not all of these are full-time subbing roles.
Strike ballots held in recent weeks saw union members in Bradford voting by 80pc for strike action, by 83pc in York and by 75pc in Darlington.
The union has also called for talks with management at the conciliation service ACAS and is challenging Henry Faure Walker, who takes up the post of chief executive of Newsquest on 1 April, to introduce a moratorium on the plans.
Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “By now I suspect Newsquest realises the level of hostility and ill-feeling its reckless plans to export local journalism production to another country is generating.
“The management has a very limited window to avoid a hugely damaging united action by our three affected chapels on the same day. We have suggested a meeting with ACAS to open a dialogue and find a sensible solution. So far, we have not had a reply.
“I am now making a public appeal to Henry Faure Walker, the incoming chief executive, to show his staff he has a grip on reality and a willingness to think positively.
“I call on him to issue an immediate and complete moratorium to further work transferring from the regions to the Gwent subbing hub. The NUJ remains ready and willing to sit down with Mr Walker to thrash out a settlement that retains the maximum number of jobs where they should be – in the local centres.”
General secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: “These are very strong votes for action and the management must take note. Newsquest, an American-owned company, clearly has no loyalty to its readers or staff.
“Local papers should be produced in the heart of the communities they serve, not more than 200 miles away in another country.”
No one from Newsquest has so far responded to requests for a comment.
It is understood that management at the centres are seeking to voluntary redundancies in a bid to minimise the overall number of job losses.