Three days of planned strike action by members of the NUJ journalists’ union at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph has forced management to withdraw its threats to impose new working conditions on staff.
The NUJ called off three days of actions set for Tuesday to Thursday of this week. The action would have severely disrupted production of the papers.
Telegraph editors Will Lewis and Patience Wheatcroft had branded union members “Luddites” and the NUJ’s demands as “ridiculous”. They had said that there was “no chance” of the company meeting the demands.
But management then made an about turn last week and withdrew plans for compulsory working on Saturdays. New rotas, which were to be imposed on staff, will be suspended and renegotiated with the union and any journalists who volunteer for more flexible working patterns will receive a payment of £5,000.
Union members agreed to suspend this week’s strike at a meeting last week to allow negotiations over new rotas to take place. But they warned the company they would still strike if there was any attempt to impose unworkable or unfair rotas.
An NUJ member at the Telegraph told Socialist Worker, “The company has backed off from imposing seven day rotas and Saturday working on production journalists.
“It has said it will look at voluntary working.
“This is a big achievement for us. The biggest point of principle was making sure there was no imposition of changes in working practices.
“The strike has only been postponed for a month while we talk over these and other issues.
“The union wants a payment for journalists who remain after the cuts. The company is adamant that it will not do that.
“We are very pleased it has backed off over imposing Saturday working, but we also want to discuss other issues.”
Strike planned at BBC television news
Over 90 Bectu media workers’ union members at BBC television news were set to strike from 10pm on Tuesday this week in a dispute over scheduling changes.
Further strikes are planned for Thursday and Friday of next week.