Regional daily editors have been asked to provide staff to fill-in for striking journalists at a group of sister titles, publisher Newsquest has confirmed.
National Union of Journalists members working for Newsquest’s South London weeklies are due to walk out for 14 days from Thursday in a dispute over job cuts and workloads.
The publisher has confirmed that a memo was issued last week to editors and senior staff at 19 sister dailies to provide names for a rota covering the proposed stoppage at its Sutton hub.
However it is understood that while daily newspaper staff have been asked to lend support, they will not be working at Sutton and so will not be crossing the picket line.
A Newsquest spokesman said: “We have a contingency plan in place that will ensure our south London publishing plans are not disrupted by any potential industrial action.
“It will be disappointing if the NUJ choose to go ahead with any action given in particular that the restructuring of this business is precisely to ensure that there is a future for local journalism in these titles.”
Titles affected by the proposed action include the Guardian series in Croydon, Epsom, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon, the News Shopper series covering Bexley, Bromley, Dartford, Gravesend, and Greenwich, the Richmond & Twickenham Times and Surrey Comet.
The strike announcement came after the NUJ claimed five staff in South London had resigned since redundancy plans which would see 11 staff cut were revealed.
The new structure will see all the South London titles come under a single managing editor, with a team of 12 reporters, four content editors and a web editor covering the patch.
All bar two of the group’s 29 editorial staff were put at risk of redundancy as a result.