Journalists at two Midlands newspapers have been told their offices are to close, the National Union of Journalists has claimed.
Editorial staff will transfer to the sister Newsquest centre at Stourbridge, West Midlands, the union claims. It is not immediately clear how many employees are affected.
Nobody was available to comment immediately for Newsquest.
The move from Bromsgrove to Stourbridge is about 12 miles and to Kidderminster about eight.
The NUJ said it does not have negotiation rights with management at the two sites marked for closure but the union has recognition at Stourbridge so will be contacting journalists based at the Bromsgrove Advertiser and Kidderminster Shuttle to offer NUJ advice.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “Both Bromsgrove and Kidderminster are very much distinct towns with their own identities – something that their local newspapers must reflect if they are to succeed. Unfortunately, this retreat by Newsquest is just one more attack made by the corporate hierarchy on local quality journalism.
“This is driving the heart and soul out of local papers and puts a damaging distance between journalists and the community. What would be unforgivable however, would be if Newsquest went even further by trying to create a reporting hub in an effort to force still more cost-cutting.”
“Subbing expertise in the county was removed last year and placed into the care of the ‘factory’ subbing hub in Newport.
“Now reporters struggling to cope with the severe limitations of this new editorial system will have a round trip of more than 25 miles to see readers and meet contacts face-to-face.”
Last month HTFP revealed plans to switch production of Newsquest’s Yorkshire and North East newspapers to South Wales had been hit by delays of up to a month.
The regional publisher is moving production of all its York, Bradford and Darlington titles to its subbing hub in Newport, South Wales with the potential loss of up to 25 jobs.
As previously reported on HTFP, the Gazette and Herald in North Yorkshire was the first title to move over to the new system in February.