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Talks to be held in bid to resolve Newsquest dispute

Michelle Stanistreet 1Journalists at a series of Newsquest-owned weeklies have suspended a planned 14-day strike after management agreed to talks.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the publisher’s South London titles based in Sutton had been due to walk-out tomorrow in an ongoing dispute over job cuts and workloads.

Now talks to be overseen by the conciliation service Acas are due to take place this morning in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The journalists have also ended a work to rule which began last Wednesday while the talks take place.

The NUJ chapel in Sutton had voted to take strike action for 14 days from tomorrow over company plans to axe up to 11 editorial roles across the 29-strong newsroom.

A proposed new structure would 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.

Titles affected by the plans 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.

Newsquest says the proposals are necessarily to put the titles on a sustainable footing.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, pictured, said: “Newsquest management must come to the table willing to engage in meaningful talks, with a genuine commitment to find a constructive way forward.

“This latest wave of cuts at the south London titles is a killer blow to quality journalism. Deep concern from politicians of all hues shows just how serious the situation is for local democracy.

“The NUJ will be entering these talks in good faith and Newsquest will further strengthen the chapel’s resolve if it is not prepared to reach a compromise.”

Earlier this week it emerged that Newsquest had asked staff on its daily titles to fill-in for the striking journalists if the stoppage went ahead.

Newsquest has been approached for a comment on the latest developments.

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  • October 5, 2016 at 9:28 am

    It’s a shame it has taken a scheduled strike for Newsquest South London management to even think of coming to the table. Not hopeful of a resolution but at least it’s a start.

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