NUJ members at North London & Herts Newspapers, owned by Sir Ray Tindle, have voted for more strike action in the dispute over low staffing and quality of editorial.
The 100 per cent support for action - which included the editor joining the ballot for the first time - was, the NUJ chapel says, the result of management's refusal to meet or even discuss the staffing at the Enfield-based papers, where two thirds of the newsdesk have left without being replaced.
The chapel claims that even before their two-week strike two months ago there were just three reporters "churning out" nine newspapers. Since then, one of the three has handed in her notice, meaning they are now faced two reporters writing nine papers. The union also claims management has cut freelance cover for photographic, production and editorial.
FoC Jonathan Lovett (top left) said: "The latest cuts and suicidal policy of non-replacement is final proof that Tindle couldn't give a damn about quality papers. The man who claims he is the saviour of local newspapers is, in our experience, the destroyer as he runs once loved, award-winning publications into the ground - an insult to our readers. The battle for the soul of the local press is raging up and down the country and now is the time for chapels, journalists and concerned readers to stand up and be counted before it is too late and fantastic local papers that once made a difference in their communities are consigned to the scrap heap."
Tindle Newspapers have condemned the strike action taken by the NUJ members and has claimed it would be "irresponsible" for the North London company to take on new people or increase pay because of the centre's rising losses.
Tindle Newspapers says it is the only newspaper group to have avoided redundancies among journalists in the recession to date.
North London & Herts Newspapers comprises: The Enfield Advertiser, The Edmonton Advertiser & Herald, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser & Herald, The Haringey Advertiser, The Enfield Gazette, The Barnet & Potters Bar Press, The East Barnet Press & Advertiser, The Edgware & Mill Hill Press, The Hendon & Finchley Press.
- The NUJ has chosen Enfield as the launch pad for a national campaign to save local newspapers. A public forum will take place at 6.30pm on Monday, July 4 at the Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, London Road, Enfield Town, EN2 6DS. A range of speakers including MPs and the new general secretary of the NUJ, Michelle Stanistreet.
- NUJ members at Newsquest South London began a two-day strike today over job cuts.
- Pic: Jon Slattery