Journalists at a second Newsquest daily have announced they are are set to go on strike in the New Year.
Now NUJ members in Darlington have voted in favour of similar action after the regional publisher announced proposals to axe three editorial roles.
In a ballot over industrial action in Darlington, 15 votes were cast in support of strike action, with two votes against and one spoilt or invalid ballot paper.
There were also 17 votes in favour of action short of a strike, and one against.
A statement by the union’s Newsquest Darlington chapel said: “The chapel is very pleased with the result of the ballot, which gives a strong mandate for action. At the end of a year which has seen a small pay rise countered by a decrease in the mileage rate, then followed by a proposal to reduce pay and lieu time given for working bank holidays, and now a re-structure of editorial that will mean the loss of highly-valued, experienced and talented staff, members are angry and disillusioned.
“The ballot shows the support there is for colleagues placed at risk and concerns about the increasing workloads that are being continuously imposed as a result of the raft of cost-cutting measures.”
HTFP reported in November that Newsquest plans to cut three newsdesk positions on the Echo to one, with one of two copy editors working on the company’s weekly titles in the area also under threat.
Titles affected include the Despatch series, which was relaunched in October more than 30 years after it was last published as an evening sister title to the Echo.
Chris Morley, pictured, NUJ Northern and Midlands senior organiser, said: “We really hope management will take stock of the expressed anger of staff at the Echo and rethink their plans through sensible and reasonable dialogue with the NUJ chapel before the need for any industrial action to take place.”
Newsquest announced last month that the group web editor, news editor and three content managers based at Swindon were at risk of redundancy in a restructure, although the strike action there has been called over low pay rather than job cuts.
A Newsquest spokesman said: “We note that just 15 members of the NUJ employed by Newsquest North-East in Darlington and Durham voted in favour of strike action in the union’s recent ballot of membership.