Journalists at the North London & Herts Newspapers took their message to the streets in their first week of strikes, which began on Tuesday.
The nine workers, members of the NUJ union, who are employed at Tindle Newspapers, are striking for two weeks against the company’s policy of non-replacement of staff. They want to secure one extra reporter to help ease the workload.
The strikers and their supporters met on the picket line on Wednesday and marched into Enfield town centre to hold a rally and raise support. They organised the protest as a mock funeral for their “dearly beloved” newspapers.
Father of the chapel Jonathan Lovett donned a priest’s outfit while others dressed as mourners and carried a coffin.
Jonathan told the 40-strong crowd, “I believe in hope, and resurrection, and that Sir Tindle need only give the word and these newspapers will be raised from the dead.”
Kim, a reporter and news editor on the paper, told Socialist Worker, “All we want is an extra reporter on a fixed term contract to help take the pressure off. On Mondays and Tuesdays we all work until midnight trying to meet deadlines, type up notes and finish reports.
“If we’re rushing then the sub editors are rushing. That’s how mistakes happen. We’re so over stretched we don’t have time to report on all the local campaigns and council meetings that people expect of us.
“If this goes on people will be off with stress—and the company won’t replace them. As long as they’re making money they don’t care about staff provision.”
Anti-cuts campaigners joined the march as did councillors and readers of the papers.
Andreas Constantinides, Labour councillor for Enfield, told the rally, “The Enfield Labour group supports you. For the sake of local democracy, we need the local press to hold us to account.”
The strikers went to the offices of the South London Press, where they believe their work has been outsourced to, on Thursday.
The strikers and their supporters, including general secretary of the NUJ Jeremy Dear, sang songs of protest and leafleted the workers and passers by. The strike will continue next week and the journalists will then discuss the next steps of their action.