Shropshire Newspapers owner the Midlands News Association is seeking 35 redundancies across all departments at the Shropshire Star and associated titles. A further 60 job cuts are planned across MNA sister title the Wolverhampton Express and Star.
MNA announced in April that it was calling for the 95 voluntary redundancies – 10 per cent of the workforce – but only 41 members of staff have come forward, meaning that the company now plans to make compulsory redundancies.
According to the NUJ, staff at the newspapers are demanding a guarantee against compulsory redundancies for editorial staff.
NUJ northern and midlands organiser Chris Morley said today: "Our members at Shropshire Newspapers are greatly concerned at the appalling prospect of compulsory redundancies. They also fear for the future of their titles and the communities they serve if the cuts go too deep.
"The journalists stand united in wanting to defend any NUJ member who may be faced with being ejected from their jobs, so we are now starting the process of balloting for strike action to allow for this option.
"Our members would rather be concentrating on pitting their newspapers and web stories together than having to fight for their jobs. But the company should be warned that our members are in no mood to roll over and see people forced out the door. They have shown they are willing to stand up for jobs and journalism in the past and are ready to do the same again.
"Our members are galvanised to meet the challenge and I am confident we will have a strong vote to take action should it be required."
MNA managing director Alan Harris said in a statement yesterday that it was the company's intention "to keep compulsory redundancies to the minimum possible and ensure that the fullest consultation is entered into with anyone who may be affected".