Socialist Worker

Victory for victimised union rep Phil Turner

Issue No. 2458

Trade unionists protest in support of Phil

Trade unionists protest in support of Phil (Pic: Nigel Newton-Smith)

Trade unionists were celebrating after NUJ union rep Phil Turner won his battle against victimisation on Wednesday of last week.

Journalists at the Rotherham Advertiser had been set to strike last Thursday against bosses’ decision to single Phil out for compulsory redundancy following a selection process.

The strike was called off when management backed down the day before.

Phil has worked for the newspaper for 30 years and led the union there for most of that time. Phil’s NUJ chapel was inundated with messages of support—while bosses were bombarded with complaints. 

And some 250 people protested in Rotherham in his support earlier this month.

Fred Sprague, Rotherham NUT union divisional secretary, told Socialist Worker, “As a trade unionist and as a journalist, Phil is outstanding. He’s always given solidarity with workers in Rotherham—they’ve always been on picket lines in solidarity with us.

“Phil has campaigned for justice for the victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. And he led the fight against racists that wanted to divide our town.”

Ged Dempsey, an executive member of the Unite union, told Socialist Worker, “On the protest loads of people came up to say that when they were fighting Phil was always in their corner. It shows that everybody mucking in together and putting pressure on the company was really important”.

Phil told Socialist Worker, “I want to thank everyone for all the solidarity I’ve had. It’s clear that’s what has been key to this victory—solidarity has won.

“It’s not just about me. It’s about defending our unions and fighting for jobs. The first thing the Tories are doing after the election is making it harder for the unions to fight back.

“But this shows that if we fight we can win. That’s the message to shout.”

Strike for jobs at Newsquest in south London

Journalists at Newsquest newspapers in south London were set to begin a 12-day strike on Thursday of this week.

The NUJ union members are fighting a “restructure” that would see jobs cut across a range of local newspapers. Bosses also want to merge editorial departments in south east and south west London, forcing journalists from the south east to work remotely.

The strike was originally set for Monday of this week. But it was rescheduled ahead of a legal challenge from Newsquest.

Confidence crisis for Trinity Mirror in West Midlands

NUJ union members at the Birmingham Mail and Coventry Telegraph have passed votes of no confidence in managers.

Bosses at Trinity Mirror plan to cut 25 jobs and force journalists to meet individual audience targets aimed at increasing online traffic.

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