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Next Branch Meetings 21 November 2008

Posted by steve1917 in events, NUJ.
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The next two meetings of the London Central NUJ branch will take place on Tuesday 9th December 2008 and Tuesday 13 January 2009. The December meeting will take place at the ‘Ye Old Cheshire Cheese’ at 6.30pm before the branch Xmas social starts. The January meeting will start at 7.00pm and take place at the usual venue of the NUJ Headquarters, 308-320 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP – just fives minutes walk from King’s Cross Station.

One matter we will be discussing at the December meeting will be a request to donate £3000 towards the cost of the legal challenge against the shutting down of the Express pension scheme. This ‘cost saving’ measure on the part of management is clearly linked to the decision to cut 69 editorial jobs at the Daily and Sunday Express.

As we come to the end of the year, things are clearly not looking good across the whole industry, including the national titles. Apart from the job cuts at the Express, the union is also having to mount a response to proposed staff cuts at the Independent and the decision of Trinity Mirror’s management to impose a pay freeze with the 2009 annual pay review being cancelled and existing bonus arrangements suspended.

One thing is certain, more attacks will follow and many journalists will be wondering what the next few months will bring. Now, more than ever, a strong stance from the NUJ will be needed because only the union can mount a serious defence of those jobs and conditions now being threatened as newspaper managements seek to protect owners profits at our expense.

As part of this response, the union is mobilising for a Job Summit to be held in London on the 24th January 2009. See the advert in this coming issue of Bylines for full details or just scroll down on this site.


MPs back Trinity Mirror journalists 21 November 2008

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Members of Parliament have rallied to the support of journalists facing pay cuts and job losses at the UK’s biggest newspaper publishing company.

Trinity Mirror announced a year long pay freeze yesterday. They have already cut more than 1,200 jobs in the past year and closed 44 titles.

Austin Mitchell, Labour MP for Great Grimsby, a former television journalist and chair of the NUJ parliamentary group, has tabled an Early Day Motion – a parliamentary petition – condemning the pay freeze.

He said: “The answer to bad trading conditions isn’t to reduce the quality of newspapers by firing journalists or cutting pay. Trinity Mirror has already axed 1,200 jobs. Enough is enough. Stop the rot and boost the quality. Don’t attack the journalists.”

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Ashok Kumar, has tabled another Early Day Motion deploring the moves by Trinity Mirror to close district offices -including one in Guisborough in his constituency -and to make a number of editorial staff redundant from the Middlesbrough based Evening Gazette.

He said: “These moves will rebound on the paper.  The staff based in the district offices are the eyes and ears of the paper in areas where there is often a lot of news generated.

“These closures would mean that local news may end up unreported, and which in turn would mean a blander paper, and one that could lose readership as a result.

“The Early Day Motion, which has already generated a degree of support from fellow MPs is asking Trinity Mirror at the highest level to think again about their plans for costs cutting, and in particular about plans to close their district offices.”

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and secretary of the NUJ parliamentary group, said: “During this time of economic hardship, Trinity Mirror should be doing all it can to protect the working conditions of journalists and maintain its skill base in order to be able to continue to provide the important service our communities rely upon.

“Driving journalists into financial hardship is not the solution to any of the problems the company faces and brings into question Trinity Mirror’s future commitment to providing local news.”

Trinity Mirror owns two of Wales’s morning newspapers, the evening paper in Cardiff and a string of weeklies across the principality.

Plaid Cymru MP for Caernarfon and a member of the NUJ parliamentary group, Hywel Williams said: “Trinity Mirror currently owns a large part of the Welsh newspaper industry, both morning and weekly titles. This announcement therefore will be a bitter blow a large proportion of Welsh journalists.

“It is unacceptable that one company can have such a substantial effect on journalism in Wales. This announcement bodes ill for individual journalists, the profession as a whole and more widely for pluralism in Welsh newspapers.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North and a member of the NUJ parliamentary group, said: “Journalists at their best are the unsung heroes of democracy. Properly paid and effective local journalists are the life blood of local democracy and information provision.

‘This action by Trinity Mirror does not show support and respect for the people who have kept the company going. Inflation is still a problem, bills have to be paid, and jobs have to be retained. I support the NUJ.”

National Union of Journalists workplace chapels are meeting around the country to decide their reaction to the announcement.

20 November 2008 (nuj.org.uk)

Jobs Summit 20 November 2008

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The NUJ is calling a Jobs Summit to co-ordinate our response to the cuts scything through all areas of the media. Workplace reps who have successfully fought job losses will be explaining how they did it – so we can build on those achievements and co-ordinate our response across the industry.

Sessions are also planned on negotiating agreements that prevent redundancies and ensure manageable workloads for remaining staff; helping people who lose their jobs to find work; and explaining the economics of the cuts in the media.

The Jobs Summit starts at noon on Saturday 24 January 2009, at NUJ headquarters, Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.

Put the date in your diary or email campaigns@nuj.org.uk for more information

Independent slashes editorial workforce 18 November 2008

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Ninety jobs – most of them editorial – are to axed from the Independent and Independent on Sunday in London.

The announcement was made this morning and NUJ representatives will meet the company on Thursday.

The NUJ’s Head of Publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: “The scale of today’s announcement will have come as a massive shock to our members at the Independent.

“Journalists’ confidence in management at the moment is shaky at best, and far below what we would expect when entering into negotiations over any major restructuring.

“The public boardroom disputes have done little to reassure staff or readers concerned about the future of the titles.

“The NUJ will meet the company on Thursday.

“We need to see clear guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies. We will also be looking for plans from management as to how the health and safety of staff who remain will be protected. Our members already complain about their workloads and, as the company attempts to produce quality papers on just three quarters of the staff, the company has a duty of care to protect its employees from work related stress and we will hold them to account over their responsibility.”

18 November 2008  (nuj.org.uk)

Next Branch Meeting 6 November 2008

Posted by steve1917 in General, NUJ.
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The next meeting of the NUJ London Central branch will be on Tuesday 11 November at 7.00pm. The venue will be the usual one of NUJ HQ, Gray’s Inn Road, London.

At this meeting, we will be discussing ideas as to how we can improve the involvement of the union chapels (i.e. the workplace structures of the union) in the NUJ as part of the planned restructuring process. Chapel power rules OK? Come along and have your say.

All members are welcome.

Advance notice… our branch Xmas party will be on Tuesday 9th December at the Ye Old Cheshire Inn in Fleet Street (of course!)

More details later.