Socialist Worker

Strike as Newsquest slashes pay and jobs

by Nick Clark in Swindon
Issue No. 2585

On the picket line in Swindon

On the picket line in Swindon (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Journalists working on regional newspapers in Swindon and Darlington are fighting against a raft of job cuts by bosses at publisher Newsquest.

The cuts are part of a sustained attack on jobs and pay that has lasted several years.

Members of the NUJ union at the Newsquest-owned Swindon Advertiser struck over low pay on Tuesday of this week and were set to strike again on Wednesday.

The union’s Swindon chapel said the paper’s reporters were “among the lowest paid on a daily title” in Britain.

Yet Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker has been paid more than £1 million in pay and perks.

Bruno Clements was social media and web editor at the Advertiser until he was made redundant on New Year’s Eve.

Redundancies

He told Socialist Worker, “We were told about the redundancies at the end of November. It’s not a very nice thing to happen to the five of us affected just before Christmas.”

He added, “Rent in Swindon is going up considerably. Wage rises are failing to keep pace with inflation.

“Reporters and other journalists are struggling to rent. How can you cover an area if you can’t live in it?

“Oxfordshire and Wiltshire Newsquest is making operating profits of about £4 million this year.

“We say there should be more money and resources going to the staff.”

Meanwhile, NUJ members at the Newsquest-owned papers in Darlington have also voted to strike. There were no dates for action as Socialist Worker went to press.

Newsquest wants to cut the number of newsdesk positions at the Northern Echo from three people to one. Two copy editor roles at weekly newspapers are also under threat.

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