Almost all of the editorial team at Tindle newspapers in north London are going on strike for a fortnight in protest over the quality of the newspapers being produced.

Three news reporters produce nine newspapers a week, which has lead to an "inferior product" delivered to readers, according to features editor for the titles Jonathan Lovett.

"We feel readers are being sold short at the moment," he told

From Tuesday, nine journalists will take industrial action for two weeks, in what they claim is the first strike in the company's history, which has support from the National Union of Journalists and has sparked comment over the declining standards of the newspapers by local Conservative and Labour MPs.

Staff plan to dress as the Grim Reaper and act out a funeral procession in protest over "death by a thousand cutbacks".

"The company is refusing to replace members of staff when they leave, while expecting increased output from its already overworked employees – seemingly with no viable strategy to revive the newspapers’ fortunes," Tindle journalists wrote in their blog about the strike.

"More than a third of editorial staff have left without being replaced and key positions are not being filled."

Reporters say they are unable to leave their desks and cannot cover council meetings or court cases.

"This leads to a failure to uphold the newspapers’ fine tradition of holding public bodies to account and the worst kind of 'churnalism'," they said.

"If this business is to have a future, it must rely on the quality of journalism and sufficient staff to produce the titles,” Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ head of publishing said in the statement.

Currently three reporters write the content for nine newspapers, the Enfield Advertiser, the Edmonton Advertiser, the Winchmore Hill Advertiser and Herald, the Enfield Gazette, the Barnet and Potters Bar Press, the East Barnet Press and Advertiser, the Edgware and Mill Hill Press, the Hendon and Finchley Press and the Haringey Advertiser.

“We must remember what an important role regional newspapers play in the local community,” Nick De Bois, Conservative MP for Enfield North said.

“I’ve watched the standard of these papers drop over past months with great sadness," Andy Love, Labour MP for Edmonton added.

The board of the Tindle Newspaper group has this afternoon issued a statement expressing regret at the decision of the nine striking journalists at Enfield.
"The NUJ announced its strike action the day after the Tindle board made an impassioned plea to all staff, including journalists, at the Enfield newspaper centre to work together to try to come up with new revenue-producing ideas to stem the centre's rising losses in the recession," Tindle said in a statement.

"Staff were told that no new people could possibly be taken on nor any pay increased since any such action would be irresponsible given the ongoing losses.
"Enfield staff were reminded that Tindle Newspapers is the only newspaper group to have avoided redundancies among journalists in the recession to date.
"The group board said it will now give priority to producing the Enfield papers while strike action is taking place and to "the security of the other 50 jobs involved".

A debate has been launched on the editor's blog asking, "will other reporters follow Tindle’s and strike over quality?".

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