Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer

Newsquest south London puts whole newsroom at risk of redundancy

Newsquest has put its entire south London newsroom on notice of redundancy, bar the managing editor and the web editor, say the NUJ.

Author: News Desk

Posted on: 08 September 2016 08:03

Newsquest south London puts whole newsroom at risk of redundancy

As reported by the National Union of Journalists: The company has told its employees that four reporters, two content editors, three subeditors, an editorial assistant and the deputy managing editor will all be cut by mid-October.

The remaining staff of 12 reporters and four content editors will be expected to continue to produce 11 newspapers and eight associated websites. The reporters will be expected cover all features, sport and leisure and well as news.

Before the announcement, Newsquest’s staff were already balloting for industrial action over inadequate staffing levels, excessive workloads, reduced quality of newspapers, the health and safety of employees, plus pay. Eight members of staff who have left since April have not been replaced.

These latest cuts come exactly a week after it was announced that none of the south London titles would continue to have professional photographers after September 11.

The titles affected include: the Croydon, Epsom, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Guardians, the Richmond & Twickenham Times, the Surrey Comet and the News Shopper (Bexley, Bromley, Dartford, Gravesend, Greenwich and Lewisham editions) as well as their associated websites.

An NUJ chapel spokesperson said: “Once again, Newsquest have shown flagrant disregard and contempt for their employees, their products and their readers. These new proposals will not only destroy our already struggling news room and ruin the brands we have worked hard to build up, but they are quite simply unworkable.

“Senior management refuse to meet the union or acknowledge our attempts to meet with them. Running a business in this way would be farcical if it wasn’t so tragic. We would like to repeat our invitation to managing director Tony Portelli to sit down and speak to his employees. As of yet, he remains hidden in his office.”

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "These plans are designed to tear the heart out of the local newsroom yet somehow Newsquest expects the staff to carry on as if nothing has happened, producing content for exactly the same number of titles and websites.

"It’s appalling – where is the duty of care to staff over workloads and health and safety. Where is the care for quality and readers? Morale in the newsroom has gone through the floor and while this bombshell was in the offing the MD was heard having a laugh in his office; he didn’t have the courtesy to address staff about these plans and is in the same bunker as his CEO. Their slash and burn proposals expose the shabby reality of Newsquest’s drive for soul-less savings at the expense of absolutely anything else."

The company cited "difficult trading conditions with sustained pressure on the profitability of the group". The "new-look" newsroom would comprise 18 members and will be expected to cover the whole of south London and parts of Kent.

The London Assembly is considering holding an inquiry into the crisis in news provision in the capital. This week Steve Reed MP for Croydon North contacted the NUJ with his concerns about the situation at Newsquest London south and this was before today's announcement.

Latest figures from Newsquest's accounts, from 2014, showed it made £60 million before tax. New figures are expected next month.

comments powered by Disqus

Most read on InPublishing

These are the most read stories on the InPublishing website over the last 14 days, in order from the top.

Articles

How to boost your branded content offer

Graham Hayday
Posted on: 19 July 2018

Craft magazines

Alan Geere
Posted on: 22 May 2018

Content management: 5 minutes with… David Rheault

David Rheault
Posted on: 11 July 2018

Family values

Meg Carter
Posted on: 22 May 2018

Why now is the right time to invest in paid content

Peter Houston
Posted on: 5 July 2018

New revenue streams

Ciar Byrne
Posted on: 22 May 2018

Off The Page

David Hepworth
Posted on: 22 May 2018

Get out of the office and talk to people

Steve Dyson
Posted on: 22 May 2018

Data-led journalism

Nick Turner
Posted on: 22 May 2018

Platforms and Publishers

Charlie Beckett
Posted on: 22 May 2018

This list is based on data from Google Analytics, and is refreshed every 24 hours. (Last updated: 23/07/2018 05:22)

Editor's Pick of Recent News Stories

Posted on: 17 July 2018
Posted on: 17 July 2018
Posted on: 13 July 2018
Posted on: 10 July 2018

Find out more about

Featured job

Chief Executive Officer
Salary: On application
NewstrAid Benevolent Fund
Bishps Stortford

Featured in InPublishing Jobs

InPub Weekly: Sign-up

Click here to sign up for our free weekly email newsletter:

Sign up now!

Magazine registration

Next Top Tips Webinar

Paid Content Strategies: Q & A

2.30-3.30pm (BST), Monday 17 September 2018

Peter Houston

Webinar sponsored by

Publishing Partners Guide

Guide to paid-content