Newsquest London has announced job cuts at the Croydon Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Surrey Comet, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian and Wimbledon Guardian, the NUJ said today.
The union says cuts are planned for Twickenham, Sutton, and the entire sports and leisure department of eight people - two editors, two sport writers, two leisure writers and two subs at Sutton.
The NUJ claims the job cuts would mean news, sport and leisure for seven newspapers would be produced by a total of only twelve reporters, with only two editors left to supervise the work. The journalists at the papers are already balloting about threatened job cuts, and the impact on the papers. The ballot result is due on Tuesday 31 May.
NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: “The company's short-sighted business model has reached a level where adverts are in danger of being increasingly ignored as readers toss their disappearing newspapers away unread. The company claims these decisions are being made amid ‘worsening trading conditions’, but the reality is Newsquest continues to rake in vast profits, in 2009 the company recorded an operating profit of £71.7m.
"These cuts threaten the future survival of local newspapers in south London. Newsquest makes millions of pounds worth of profit and at the same time they want to axe our members jobs and retreat from quality local journalism. The union is balloting for action in response to the cuts because we know our members take pride in their work and local citizens wants to read a local paper which contains local news, sports and leisure.”