Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Newsquest London and Newsquest South & West London NUJ chapel are pleased to announce we have reached an amicable agreement which has led to editorial staff ending all industrial action.

The agreement to replace vacancies that may occur over the next six months and to retain two extra editorial positions was accepted by a majority of union members.

Staff returned to work at Sutton and Twickenham this morning, Wednesday, June 29, after ending their work to rule and calling off the last two days of a four-day strike.

The agreement was reached following two days of meaningful negotiations which led to an agreement acceptable to both parties.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


I'm sorry I can't be with you today - I am up in Scotland - but I'm thinking of you and wishing you strength in your fight for jobs and quality journalism. Your action will be an inspiration to thousands of other journalists fighting the greed of corporate owners and standing up for journalists and journalism.
Hasta la victoria siempre

Jeremy Dear
General Secretary, NUJ


All the striking Questers have arrived at Quadrant House to protest against the cowboys wanting to cut our local papers down to nothing more than advertising rags.
We have had such a good response so far from people walking in to work.
Journalists are hard at work handing out leaflets and explaining what we are doing.
One passing bus driver even hooted his appreciation at our campaigning.
Everyone seems to have gotten into the spirit of the strike dressed up as cowboys to enforce our wildquest theme.
GMB and Unison unions have been down to show their support which is greatly appreciated.
And we have had a lot of support from our non striking colleagues at Newsquest.


Striking journalists from local Guardian newspapers will be turning Sutton and Twickenham into the Wild West this Wednesday and Thursday in protest at a new round of job cuts.
National Union of Journalists(NUJ) members will be dressing as cowboys to highlight a new round of redundancies announced by Newsquest South London, which will see the sports and leisure department closed and leave nine* people without jobs.
The demonstration, which will run between 8am and 5.30pm both days, will involve journalists picketing the Sutton and Twickenham offices and handing out leaflets in the centre of both towns.
News reporters have been told they will be required to take on the workload from the axed sports and leisure team, which the union has so far rejected.
Our NUJ chapel believes these redundancies will be seriously detrimental to the quality of our newspapers, which have already been cut in size and feature increasing amounts of advertising rather than editorial. 
The editorial department has offered Newsquest a new online revenue-generating idea, which is already being rolled out in Sutton and Twickenham, to help save the £210k Newsquest South London says it must cut from its annual budget.
In return our NUJ chapel has offered to call off the strike if the consultation period of those undergoing redundancy were to be extended until September 1, to allow time to see if the idea could make enough money to save their jobs. Management has turned down the offer. 
NUJ members are also working to rule over these redundancies, and will be doing so for as long as necessary.

Our ten titles are the Croydon Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Surrey Comet and Richmond & Twickenham Times.
Picket lines:
The Quadrant
Quadrant House
Allied House
29-39 London Road
*Nine people have been put forward for redundancy. However two of them are on a job share, so eight jobs are set to go.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Journalists at Newsquest in South London are on strike today and tomorrow (June 15 and 16) in a dispute over redundancies and in support of quality local journalism. NUJ members have already been working to rule, and the strike follows a massive vote for action.
How NUJ members and supporters can help:
- Email messages of support to the strikers
- Join the Facebook group 'Strike - Newsquest South London'
- Follow the strike on Twitter:
- Donate to the strike fund here
The NUJ strikers had previously adopted a unanimous vote of no confidence in their top management after a company decision to make an unspecified number of editorial staff redundant while the group's titles continue to make substantial profits.
NUJ general secretary-elect Michelle Stanistreet said: "Newsquest journalists are fighting for their communities and their jobs. It is time that Newsquest got the message that readers need their newspapers and the NUJ defends members and the quality journalism they provide."
NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: "Our members' overwhelming decision to take strike action in defence of jobs and quality was the inevitable result of a wrong-headed management policy. But it is not too late for the company to show some sense and sit down with us to discuss the future security of the papers which are so important to our members and their communities."   
Newsquest London has announced job cuts at the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian and Richmond & Twickenham Times.
In 2009 Newsquest recorded an operating profit of £71.7m. 


We've been receiving messages of support from NUJ members and members of other unions all over the country. We would like to say thanks and show you some of those messages:

Dear Newsquest South London, we would like to wish you all the best on your 48-hour strike tomorrow.
We are just going through our third round of redundancies in two-and-a-half years.
This time the production of our weekly papers is being moved to Bradford, 90 miles away, and we are losing seven journalists in the processs on a "voluntary" basis.
Our chapel went on strike for two days in January in protest at the previous round of redundancies.
Although the action did not stop the loss of two journalists then, it gave us a voice and we were able to make known to the public our concerns about the impact on the quality of our papers. 
The very best of luck!

Jackie Craft, joint Mother of Chapel, on behalf of  Darlington NUJ Chapel, North-East

Friday, 27 May 2011


We have had another round of redundancies announced at one of our south London offices.

This time, MD Roger Mills decided to make the whole of our sports and leisure team redundant, one news editor out of the two we have left, one web designer out of two, and one commercial features writer/sub editor - eight journalists in total.

The announcement came despite the fact that the editorial department devised a revenue-generating idea, which could potentially earn Newsquest at least £1.4 million a year nationally.

The idea was presented to Newsquest London and national bosses last week, with the intention of generating money and saving our jobs, and will be put into practice from Tuesday (sales staff have already been trained to do it), as they accepted it works and may be extremely profitable.

So they have accepted the new idea, are putting it into practice, but have refused to give us any time to find out whether it works and may help save our jobs.

This week, Mayor of London Boris Johnson came out in support of our newspapers.

He said: "As someone who has been involved in journalism for all of his professional life, I think what local papers do is absolutely crucial in keeping local people informed about developments in life and their area.

"Most people get their information from local papers and I hope whatever Newsquest are doing, and I wouldn't like to second guess their reasons for it, but I hope it will not affect the excellent coverage of news provided across the series."

News reporters will be required to take on sports and leisure, but the NUJ chapel has already made clear we will not accept any extra workload.

Mr Mills is clearly dismantling our newspapers in London, apparently to make savings of £210k by the end of June. From what I have been told in meetings with senior management, Newsquest operates with quarterly targets, which regional MDs must meet, and which is an incredibly short-sighted way of conducting a business in our chapel's opinion.

The NUJ has long claimed that all profits made by Newsquest nationally are passed on to our parent company in America, Gannett and the ever increasing demand for higher profits by their shareholders makes it impossible for Newsquest to continue delivering a meaningful service in the local newspaper industry.

Proof of it is the fact that our editorial space continues to shrink, our staff is being made redundant and our newspapers are soon to be turned into advertising leaflets with the odd news story crammed in.

Our much-loved titles (Croydon Guardian, Richmond and Twickenham Times, Surrey Comet, Kingston Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian and Streatham Guardian) will not be able to hold councils to account, cover meaningful and relevant stories, carry out investigations, cover court cases, crime, education and other areas - we will not be able to provide the service good local newspapers are expected to deliver.

Moreover, graduates fresh out of journalism courses or NCTJ training will be at risk of missing out on the excellent training still provided in local newsrooms, a true stepping stone for news reporters aspiring to get a steady foundation in this industry.

Our strike ballot's result will be announced on Tuesday, May 31, and I will update you as soon as I get it.


Members of the NUJ across Newsquest's south London titles have been working to rule since April 15. They voted in favour of industrial action after management failed to reach an agreement with the union on four issues.
Following an announcement that editorial space would be drastically reduced from February this year, members of the union feared for the jobs of reporters across all sections, news editors and sub editors.
The union sought guarantees from management that there would be no redundancies and that editorial space would be increased.
Members also demanded the 2pc pay rise due in April, after Newsquest lifted its three-year long pay freeze nationally.
The fourth issue related to moving offices from North Cheam to Sutton. Many members of staff saw their train fares increase by up to 30pc, but have been denied financial support from the company to cope with the change for a period of time after the move.
Union members offered Newsquest an extra hour of work per day to run alongside the work to rule, to show their commitment to producing high-quality newspapers, but managing director Roger Mills has not yet replied to the offer.
The union has also offered to take the dispute to ACAS, but again, Mr Mills failed to respond to this date.
Four journalists who have either left or taken voluntary redundancy will not be replaced and more redundancies have just been announced.
We have a total of 38 journalists working across two offices - Sutton and Twickenham.