A leading activist in the NUJ journalists’ union at the Rotherham Advertiser in South Yorkshire has been targeted for redundancy.
Bosses singled out Phil Turner on Wednesday of last week following a selection process among the regional newspaper’s 14 editorial staff.
Phil has worked at the Advertiser for some 30 years. He has been the leading NUJ official for most of that time.
During that time he has proved himself to be a thorn in the side of bosses.
He led a successful strike against union derecognition in the 1990s and organised another strike over pay in 2002.
Advertiser bosses say they decided to make Phil redundant after comparing workers on a “skills matrix” agreed by the union.
But the NUJ denied that it agreed to the skills matrix.
The union said Phil was deliberately targeted in order to attack the union.
Workers at the Advertiser voted unanimously to strike in defence of Phil at an emergency meeting on Wednesday of last week.
They are set to walk out on 11 June—on a deadline day for the weekly paper.
A protest will also be held in Rotherham town centre from 12 noon this Saturday. Trade unionists across Britain have rushed to support Phil.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said, “It couldn’t be clearer to Phil, his colleagues, and to the rest of the NUJ.
“A longstanding, effective and well-respected rep who has consistently stuck up for his chapel and their collective principles has been deliberately targeted through this redundancy exercise.
“NUJ members at the Rotherham Advertiser aren’t prepared to sit back and allow Phil to be picked off in this way.
“That’s why they’re taking industrial action—to support and stand by their rep.”