Socialist Worker

Newsquest: strikers’ quest is to stop cuts

Issue No. 2229

Journalists at the Brighton Argus struck on Thursday and Friday of last week against management’s plans to move the paper’s sub-editing operation to Southampton.

This will see seven staff made redundant.

Strikers in the NUJ union have won wide support from local people and politicians.

One striker said, “We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the support we’ve received today.

“There has been a non-stop symphony of tooting horns from passing motorists, and other workers also facing the prospect of the sack coming along to join us on the picket line to show their support.”

The fight in Brighton is just one part of the battle against the Newsquest/Gannett group’s attempts to force through cost-cutting across its empire.

Journalists at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Ilkley Gazette, Wharfedale & Airedale Observer and the Keighley News face the sack and the humiliation of having to apply for replacement jobs on far worse terms and conditions.

Bob Smith is the union rep at Newsquest Bradford and the UK-wide Newsquest group chapel [workplace union branch].

He said, “Newsquest’s reward for loyal journalists who have endured a pay freeze lasting more than 1,000 days and the closure of their pension scheme, is to throw them on the scrapheap.

“These proposed redundancies are the latest kick in the teeth for journalists working for a company that has lost the plot.

“The chapel will fight these job cuts tooth and nail.

“We intend to ballot for industrial action in Bradford to resist redundancies and to gain a pay rise for our beleaguered members.”

NUJ members at Newsquest Northeast—which includes the Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times, Durham Times and the Advertiser series—have also begun a ballot for industrial action against redundancies and the group-wide pay freeze.

Members have also unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in their chief executives.

The attacks come at a time when Newsquest is making healthy profits.

Gannett’s chief financial officer, Gracia Martore, said last month, “Let me dispel the myth that Newsquest doesn’t make money. Newsquest makes a lot of money.”

For more information about the Brighton strike go to http://brightonargus.blogspot.com


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Tue 23 Nov 2010, 18:26 GMT
Issue No. 2229
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