Newsquest journalists from titles in Blackburn and London have gone on strike over job cuts and the transfer of editorial production to a subbing hub in Wales.
National Union of Journalists (NUJ) general secretary Michelle Stanistreet joined strikers on a picket line in Sutton, while vice-president Tim Dawson offered support to strikers from the Salford branch.
Titles including the Croydon Guardian, Warrington Guardian, Northwich Guardian, Sale of Altrincham, the Wirral Globe and South London Guardian are among those affected.
Robert Fisk, Croydon Guardian news editor, explained: “Since January, the number of staff has gone down from four to two. Our trainee reporter has had to become a trainee reporter, senior reporter, chief reporter and arts and entertainment editor rolled into one.
“Getting out to cover stories is a rarity. This makes it difficult to deliver a high-quality news product to the thousands of people across Croydon who deserve nothing less than this.”
Laura Davidson, NUJ national organiser, said: “This dispute at its simplest is about standing up for local journalism. I commend NUJ members for taking this action to expose the relentless corporate cost cutting by Newsquest which is undermining quality journalism in communities it’s supposed to speak for.”
The journalists voted for strike action after an ongoing dispute about pay, job cuts and the decision to move editorial production processes to a centralised subbing hub in Newport, Wales. Last year, the NUJ described sub-editor redundancies as “disastrous” and warned the company would “come to regret it in the long run”.
Strikers have received support from politicians including Labour MP for Luton North Kelvin Hopkins and John McDonnell MP, secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group.
“Journalists at Newsquest have my full support in defending employment conditions and reporting standards in regional and local newspapers. I hope their action is successful,” said Hopkins.