Journalists at a group of titles in the North West have announced a one-day strike for next Wednesday in the ongoing row over subbing hubs.
Five National Union of Journalists chapels in the Newsquest group have voted for strike action over plans to transfer editorial production to the company’s subbing hub in Newport, South Wales, along with redundancies and pay.
Two of the chapels, in Warrington and Blackburn, have now announced a 24-hour strike for Wednesday 25 June.
Titles likely to be affected by the action include the Warrington Guardian, Northwich Guardian, Sale and Altrincham Messenger, Wirral Globe, St Helens Star, Bolton News, Bury Times and Lancashire Telegraph.
In addition journalists at Newsquest’s South London Guardian series are also going on strike next Wednesday after a 100pc vote in favour of action.
They are taking the action over the closure of the Elmbridge Guardian with the possible loss three jobs and over pay, saying they have had only one pay increase in six years.
NUJ members in the Warrington chapel voted 93.1pc in favour of strike action and the Blackburn chapel by 83.1pc.
They say the plan to move production of the titles currently produced in the North West to the Welsh subbing hub will put at risk editorial quality, lead to redundancies and unacceptable workloads.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “Our members are resolute in being ready to strike to defend their colleagues, their journalism and their sanity from exploitative overloading of work that will arise from the company’s latest plans.
“In the absence of any realisation from Newsquest bosses that they have to fundamentally change tack on these plans, our chapels will take united strike action.
“There are signs that the company’s timetable for implementation is slipping badly already. I suggest managers use this time to talk in a mature and conciliatory manner to their staff representatives about positive ways forward.”
Newsquest regional managing director Chris Hughes said: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision taken by the two North West chapels to stage a one day strike next week. Despite NUJ claims that this action is well supported, only 65pc of those eligible to vote, chose to do so.
“Newsquest remains absolutely committed to improving the way in which its print and online products are produced and an important element of this is this investment in the new Knowledge system.
“The rollout schedule remains on track, with the first title due to be transferred within the next 2 weeks.
“Whilst the redundancies that will arise from this investment are extremely regrettable and we will make every effort to redeploy those affected, this strike action will not affect those plans , nor will it impact ongoing publishing and we urge our staff to call off their planned action.”