Socialist Worker

Rising action against assault on media jobs

by Tony Walker and Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2140

Journalists discuss their action during the strike at the Yorkshire Post last week (Pic: Tony Walker)

Journalists discuss their action during the strike at the Yorkshire Post last week (Pic: Tony Walker)


Over 140 workers at Yorkshire Post Newspapers in Leeds struck from Thursday of last week to Sunday, as part of the wave of resistance to job losses sweeping the newspaper sector.

The NUJ union members at the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post and Leeds Weekly News struck against management attempts to sack 18 journalists – 10 percent of the editorial workforce.

The workers were set to strike from Thursday of this week until Sunday after a massive 97 percent vote for strike in an 84 percent turnout.

The workers’ mood was confident and positive.

People in cars tooted their horns in support of the strikers as they passed by.

Peter Lazenby, a leading NUJ activist and organiser of the strike, said, “When we announced the series of two two-day strikes, some of the younger journalists said, they wanted two four-day strikes.

“This strike and the support we’ve received shows that people are glad someone is striking and resisting job cuts in the recession.”

The local government Unison branch invited Peter Lazenby to speak about the strike at its meeting on Wednesday of this week.

Action

Other media workers across Britain and Ireland are also organising action against bosses’ attempts to make cuts to deal with the recession.

The NUJ is set to ballot almost 4,000 members at the BBC after the corporation announced compulsory redundancies in Scotland.

The BBC-wide ballot has been called in support of the union’s policy against compulsory redundancies.

The Bectu union is also balloting its members at BBC Scotland over the issue.

BBC World Service journalists at the BBC South Asian service based in London were also set to strike on Thursday of this week.

They are outraged by proposed overseas outsourcing that will mean worse working conditions and news produced under local censorship laws.

And journalists at Shropshire Newspapers and Staffordshire Newspapers have overwhelmingly voted for industrial action over cutbacks.

Journalists fighting redundancies at Newsquest York have given notice of possible industrial action every weekday until the end of March.

Newsquest management announced on Friday of last week four jobs would go at The Press newspaper in York.

The York chapel (workplace union branch) has been fighting redundancies since last summer.

Now they have told management that they intend to hold a disruptive lunchtime meeting every weekday over the cuts.

Other ballots for industrial action over cutbacks are underway at the Derry Journal in Northern Ireland, the Independent in London, and the Surrey-based Reed Business Information magazine group.

Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ deputy general secretary, said, “NUJ members are not just fighting to save jobs. They are standing up for journalism – and the right of people to be properly informed about the society we live in.”

Workers are facing major attacks at other titles.

Up to 70 job cut have been announced at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspapers in Scotland.

A 30-day consultation has begun and management are looking for voluntary redundancies.

Overstretched

The editorial cuts will mean that the workers remaining at the titles will be overstretched and expected to fulfill many different roles and tasks.

Meanwhile, the merging of subediting on the Leicester Mercury, Derby Telegraph, and Nottingham Evening Post will result in the loss of 30 jobs.

But the spirited resistance at other titles has shown that media workers will not just lie down and take these cuts.

Email messages of support to the NUJ at Yorkshire Post Newspapers to nujleedsstrikers@googlemail.com Send donations to “NUJ EP/YP Joint Chapel Branch”, to NUJ, PO Box HP 346, Leeds LS6 1UL


NUJ members at the Morning Star left wing daily newspaper called off their strike over pay set for Monday of this week after progress in talks.

This article has been updated to remove a quote wrongly attributed to Peter Lazenby, for which we apologise.


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Article information

News
Tue 24 Feb 2009, 18:21 GMT
Issue No. 2140
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