Journalists at Newsquest’s newspapers in South London and York are set to strike over redundancies, staffing levels and pay.
The National Union of Journalists has revealed its members in both areas have voted unanimously in favour of industrial action after the company recently unveiled further job cuts.
In South London, journalists are being faced with redundancy or a pay cut as part of a cost-cutting drive which will see 16 weeklies placed under a single group managing editor, Andrew Parkes.
Up to 14 roles are at risk and, although three new posts are being created and 11 vacancies are available, many senior roles are set to disappear and staff who stay on are likely to face the prospect of a pay cut.
Newspaper titles affected by the proposed changes include the eight-edition South London Guardian series and the six-edition News Shopper series, along with the Surrey Comet, Elmbridge Comet, and the Richmond & Twickenham Times.
Newsquest has also proposed to axe 25 roles across its York, Bradford and Darlington centres and create 10 new posts.
Staff at risk in York under the planned restructure include the editor and deputy of the Ryedale Gazette and Herald, an internet editor, digital community publisher, newsroom assistant and deputy sports editor.
A new social media editor post is being created in York, while the roles of chief sub, night production editor, features editor and content editor will transfer to Bradford.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “We have a clear message from our members that they have had enough and are prepared to take strike action.
“It isn’t just the latest threats of redundancies. It is the attrition of cuts upon cuts and the lack of investment in the newspapers and websites which have led to high workloads and stress.”
The NUJ has also written to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale over what it has described as “a nightmare month for local newspapers”, after Trinity Mirror revealed plans to cut up to 45 jobs in the West Midlands and Scotland.
The union is also organising a 24-hour strike at the Rotherham Advertiser next week over the proposed redundancy of Phil Turner, the newspaper’s FoC.