Journalism.co.uk understands that in a ballot which closed at noon yesterday, 91.7 per cent of the 24 NUJ members at the Argus who voted did so in favour of industrial action, which has been planned for 18 and 19 November.
This means publisher Newsquest faces four consecutive days of strikes within its regional titles next week, with NUJ members at the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton due to carry out a second strike on the Tuesday and Wednesday in response to an ongoing pay freeze within Newsquest and plans to close the pension scheme to future accural.
The relocation of the Argus' sub-editing operations will mean the loss of seven positions at the newspaper, the NUJ previously claimed.
"The focus of this action is to protest again the proposed loss of news-subbing jobs and, in fact, the whole news subbing operation," a union representative at the paper told Journalism.co.uk.
"Local jobs are being taken away from the local paper and shipped out of the county down the coast. This is the local paper for Brighton and needs local staff. The cost in terms of lost expertise and local knowledge is huge; the savings the company imagines it will make in the creation of a news subbing hub in Southampton are likely to be paltry - but the company refuses to explain its rationale for its proposal to the whole staff in an open forum.
"Be aware that the subs here in Brighton can see Southampton's subbing basket - in other words, they could just as easily sub Echo today as they could sub Argus copy. Why the company thinks it will save money by moving jobs out of one office into an office 70 miles away has never been explained. Again: the union's demand - which was refused - was simply that management should address the *whole* staff in an open forum to explain the company's proposal."
Newsquest has not responded to requests for comment.
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