SIXTY JOURNALISTS at the Bolton Evening News and Bury Times have been striking against miserable pay and conditions at Newsquest, a subsidiary of US firm Gannet. After two two-day strikes the NUJ union members walked out on all-out strike on Tuesday of last week.
Senior management have continued to produce titles of much poorer quality. Management is under intense pressure and have already offered a tiny improvement for some staff.
Deputy mother of the chapel (workplace union branch) Lucie McFall told Socialist Worker, 'This dispute has been brilliant and brought people together. Every single member has been on the picket line and actively involved in the strike. The people who were nervous about going on strike have been the most enthusiastic on the picket line. We have been inundated with messages of support and donations from right across the country. It's been a marvellous experience. Whatever happens things can't go back to the old ways. Two-day strikes are not enough. It has to be all-out.'
Management's new offer goes nowhere to addressing the strikers' grievances. More action is needed and an appeal to print workers for solidarity to stop Newsquest titles being produced while journalists are out on strike.
NUJ Left meeting, Saturday 3 May, 1pm, 2E, ULU, Malet Street, London.
TO THE disappointment of NUJ union activists, BBC journalists have voted against taking strike action in defence of two sacked colleagues. Union members across the country voted by 55 percent to 45 percent against striking.
The BBC Arabic Service sacked Abdul-Hadi Jiad and Adli Hawwari, an Iraqi and a Palestinian journalist, without warning in February. Both have a proud record of activism in the NUJ.
The result is a blow for the campaign to reinstate the two journalists. Members of the Bectu union for film, theatre and entertainment at the BBC's Bush House had voted for strike action in a consultative ballot. Almost 65 percent of Bectu members voted to strike.
'BBC management put out a lot of propaganda against the two journalists and pressured for a no vote,' says a BBC worker. 'The NUJ leadership put a lot of effort into winning the ballot. But the vote opens up questions of how you deliver a positive vote. We need a rank and file network at the level of the chapels (workplace union branches).'
NUJ members voted by 63 percent in favour of action short of a strike. Activists are discussing continuing the campaign.