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Solidarity motions passed at London Central Branch tonight 8 November 2011

Posted by Donnacha DeLong in disputes, solidarity.
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Tonight, the London Central Branch of  the NUJ held a special solidarity meeting with speakers from Occupy the London Stock Exchange, in advance of tomorrow’s student demonstrations, and the NUT, UCU and PCS ahead of them and other unions taking strike action on 30 November. Two solidarity motions were passed, full text below.

Motion 1:

London Central Branch expresses its solidarity with the Occupy movement, with those demonstrating tomorrow (9 November), all those taking strike action on 30 November and with those balloting for action at the BBC. This branch notes the motion passed at the NEC last month that sought to remind “newspaper, radio and TV editors of their responsibility to report the November 30th day of strike action fairly.”  This branch agrees that Fox News-style coverage is not acceptable in Britain.

This branch calls on all of its members to ensure that their own work covers the strike and any associated demonstrations fairly and accurately.

Motion 2:

London Central Branch congratulates Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) on the success of their first national conference on Saturday, 29 October. This Branch supports DPAC’s campaign for rights, not charity, for people with disabilities.

This Branch condemns attacks on disabled people in some parts of the UK media and calls for fair and accurate coverage of the issues faced by disabled people as the government cuts services and benefits.


FT shows solidarity with 30 June strikes 30 June 2011

Posted by Donnacha DeLong in disputes, events, NUJ.
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Our day of action began with messages of solidarity sent to the picket line outside the HSE headquarters in Southwark, where about 20 PCS pickets were distributing leaflets and stickers to passers-by. We took stickers to hand out in the newsroom.

At lunchtime, committee members set up a stall in the canteen and gave out leaflets highlighting the NUJ’s support for the national day of action, with one person taking away a membership form to fill out. At a lively and well attended chapel meeting in the afternoon, the FT chapel addressed issues of “crisis management” in the newspaper industry and in the country as a whole.

Steve Bird, FT Group chapel FoC, said: “The government is stumbling from one policy fiasco to the next. As soon as the reality of the cuts becomes apparent, it provokes anger and opposition. Unions need to be part of every fight against these unjust cutbacks, just as we oppose bad management in our workplaces.”

Barry Fitzpatrick, head of the NUJ Publishing Department, praised NUJ members for standing up to redundancies and forcing concessions at Newsquest and elsewhere. “Even in the Thatcher years, trade unionists fought back. We need to follow the example of workers in Greece. When the stakes are high, mass union action is vital if we want to win,” he said.

The meeting went on to debate the dangers of performance-related pay – eroding collective bargaining, removing transparency over settlements and raising the possibility of discrimination in pay awards.

The meeting unanimously passed a motion calling to put a threatened redundancy into dispute if no compromise was reached before the end of the consultation period.

Barry praised the FT chapel as a great example of building strength and confidence in the union even when managers could sometimes be hard-nosed.

Steve Bird
FoC, FT Group Chapel

Newsquest strike resolved 30 June 2011

Posted by Donnacha DeLong in disputes, NUJ.
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Newsquest journalists in South London called off their strike this week after negotiating an agreement to resolve a dispute over redundancies.

NUJ chapel members voted to accept an agreement to replace vacancies occurring over the next six months and to retain two additional editorial positions to what was planned.

The 33 Newsquest journalists had opposed management plans which included axing the whole sports and leisure department (eight journalists) and making one commercial features writer redundant.

Staff returned to work at Newsquest offices in Sutton and Twickenham yesterday, ending a work to rule and calling off the last two days of a four-day strike, following negotiations which started on  Monday.

NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said:

The outcome of this dispute shows the need for management to work together with the NUJ to tackle the problems of the newspaper industry.

In this serious dispute with Newsquest, the group’s management has come to the negotiating table to reach agreement with the union. That reflects the impressive achievement of our NUJ chapel in recruiting so many journalists into the union, and then negotiating a settlement from a position of strength.

NUJ members at Newsquest in South London deserve our highest praise for their determination to see this dispute through to a satisfactory conclusion.

The NUJ is committed to the survival of local newspapers, but we need the co-operation of managements across the industry to ensure that.

The newspaper titles involved in the dispute were the Epsom Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Surrey Comet and Richmond & Twickenham Times.

And don’t forget the launch of the Stand up for local Journalism campaign in Enfield, North London, on Monday.

Newsquest South London on strike again 26 June 2011

Posted by Donnacha DeLong in disputes, NUJ.
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Newsquest journalists in South London are to take four more days of strike again this week. The strike begins tomorrow (Monday 27 June) and is due to end at midnight on Thursday 30 June.

The journalists’ are taking action due to a dispute with the company over redundancies and in support of quality local journalism. They took two days strike action just over a week ago, picketing Newsquest offices in Sutton and Twickenham.

Newsquest Guardian publishes ten titles, the Croydon Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Surrey Comet and Richmond & Twickenham Times.

NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: “We’ve had a very successful two-day strike last week, and it is worth noting that a dozen journalists have joined the union since the dispute began. This reflects the deep anger which journalists employed by Newsquest at their bosses’ determination to avoid consulting with staff on the future of their papers.”

The NUJ strikers had previously adopted a unanimous vote of no confidence in their top management after a company decision to make an unspecified number of editorial staff redundant while the group’s titles continue to make substantial profits.

Follow the strike on the strikers’ blog and via their Twitter feed @ylgstrike.

Message to the branch from a grateful chapel 25 June 2011

Posted by Donnacha DeLong in disputes, NUJ.
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Jonathan Lovett, FoC at North London & Herts Newspapers, has sent the following message to London Central Branch following the resolution of their dispute with Sir Ray Tindle:

Thanks to branch members for their wonderful support received over the past few months in our dispute with Tindle Newspapers – finally brought to a conclusion a couple of days ago.

Ultimately, the result was a positive one which just proves that going on strike and standing up for yourselves does work. After the first wave of strike action – over two weeks in April involving a mass demonstration, funeral procession and addressing meetings up and down the country – we were on the verge of a second when a deal was finally struck.

As one of the clauses in the deal was not to “crow” about it (!), I won’t go into too much detail but just to say it was a satisfactory result which means we can go back to work with self-respect restored and a foundation for the future.

Support from across the country, Early Day Motions and questions in the house, besides another rock solid 100% “Yes” vote for strike action had seemed to focus Sir Ray Tindle’s mind and the hope now is that we can use this as a platform to push forward and return our papers to the quality, award-winning publications they once were.

Also, a word of praise for my colleagues, the bold “Enfield Nine” striking journalists who put principles and our readers before threats of redundancy and half a month’s loss of earnings. Respect is due.

We would also like to use our relative success as a small beacon of hope for other chapels up and down the country and urge everyone to attend the launch of the NUJ’s national campaign on Monday, July 4 to save local newspapers. It takes place five minutes from our offices in Enfield, starts at 6.30pm and more details can be found under the NUJ Active section on the NUJ’s website.

Yours in solidarity,
Jonathan Lovett.