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Stand Up For (Striking) Journalism 26 March 2009

Posted by steve1917 in events, NUJ.
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To show solidarity with all NUJ members in dispute and to raise cash for fighting funds, NUJ Left is hosting ‘Stand up for journalism’ – a comedy benefit gig for striking journalists.

It will be at Bar B Lo, 76 Marchmont Street, London, on Wednesday 15 April. Doors open 7.30pm. Nearest tube Russell Square.

Tickets will be available soon at £5 waged/£3 unwaged, or pay on the door. Collections on the night.

The full line-up will be announced shortly, but Attila the Stockbroker will present his line in anti-capitalist rants.

There will also be NUJ speakers and DJ Barter playing ska, new wave and punk beats.

If you want tickets to sell at work or flyers to help raise the issue of the cuts, email the organisers at richsimcox@mac.com

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Branch Secretary’s Report 25 March 2009

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The past 12 months have continued a process of change in our industry that has impinged, particularly, on members of this branch. Further redundancies and financial cutbacks across the entire newspaper and agencies sector have thrown up ongoing challenges that your union and this branch have had to address. The branch, its constituent chapels and the NUJ overall, has risen to these challenges, successfully fighting against compulsory redundancies and campaigning for quality journalism. The union’s revitalised strategy, formulated at the recent Jobs Summit, will help to protect jobs, seize new opportunities and add impetus to our struggle. However, in order to ensure that we maintain a strong voice within the media industry, it is more imperative than ever that we recruit from among those already working in our sectors as well as new arrivals. For those of us who have striven to bring new members into the fold, the one startling response we have had from potential members is that they had not joined before because nobody has asked them! This is staggering. So, I would urge every member to ask at least one other non-NUJ colleague to join. I would also urge the incoming branch officers to approach lapsed members and encourage them to return to full membership as well as helping those who are currently unemployed. Last year, I reported the transfer of Reuters members to Canary Wharf Branch and Daily & Sunday Telegraph members from canary Wharf to London Central. Now we are in the process of welcoming some 600 or so members from Canary wharf Branch, which has decided to merge with London Central. While it is always a sad occasion to witness the demise of a branch, in the current circumstances that face this union it may be the opportune time for such a merger. I am standing down this year as Branch Secretary after seven years. I would like to thank my current and former colleagues on the branch committee as well as chapel officers and other members for the efforts they have put in during my sojourn and for the courtesy and consideration they have shown me. I hand over the mantle at a time when this branch has never been stronger and can only gain strength from the addition of our Canary wharf colleagues. I hope that I have played my part in help to maintain our solidarity. Once again I will leave you with what I believe should be the branch maxim: Recruit! Recruit! Recruit! Jim Humphries

Support Leeds Strikers 25 March 2009

Posted by steve1917 in disputes, NUJ.
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Journalists at the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post and Leeds Weekly News are taking strike action to defend their jobs and quality journalism.

They have already lost up to thirteen days of pay and need your help.

Johnston Press management, which this week announced profits of £128 million – or a 24.1% return on investment – is responding to the news by making 18 journalists redundant on the Yorkshire titles – 10% of the editorial workforce.

Johnston Press has returned hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends and bonuses to shareholders in recent years, while racking up debts of £450 million in a reckless expansion process.

Around 30 Johnston titles in Northern Ireland are at risk, all Johnston titles in the Republic have been put up for sale and management are seeking further redundancies in Scotland.

Members in Leeds are at the frontline in this dispute, as management become entrenched in their desire to service their debt and bolster their profits by sacking journalists and streamlining operations.

Management are refusing to rule out compulsory redundancies, which the union wholeheartedly oppose. The consequences of compulsory redundancies could lead to a similar approach being rolled out not only at Johnston titles, but also across the industry.

We are calling on every member to back the action taken by the workers in Leeds as they defend both jobs and a quality product of which they were once proud.

Branches have already been generous in their support, but we are calling on chapels – many of which will already be feeling the threat of cost-cutting and profiteering by management – to make collections, on a weekly basis, to ensure victory for our colleagues in Leeds.

Don’t worry if you can’t afford much – it all adds up.

A victory in Yorkshire will send a clear message that the NUJ will not stand for compulsory redundancies – and will always fight against the propaganda and profiteering which threatens our industry.

James Doherty    Jeremy Dear
President              General Secretary

HOW TO HELP:

Branch AGM Report 25 March 2009

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This year’s Annual General Meeting of the London Central Branch saw the election of some new officers to replace those who had decided to step down including our long standing Secretary Jim Humphries and Chair Helene Mulholland. Both were thanked for all their hard work and the branch looks forward to their continued involvement at the heart of the struggle against job losses and the imposition of declining standards in the newsrooms. Replacing Jim is Phil Waller, who had held the Assistant Secretary position and Rob Sewell has taken over the position of Branch Chair from Helene – he had previously been Assistant Chair. So both the new faces are actually not so new after all! Charley Allan will now combine the position of Membership Secretary with that of Assistant Chair. Steve Jones remains Treasurer and Bill Bowder, Welfare Officer. NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear attended the meeting and outlined the critical situation facing both journalism and the union. Membership was holding up well but given the massive job cuts being pushed through across the board it would be unrealistic to expect things not to get worse. We need to step up our efforts on recruitment and stress the successes the union has had on defending jobs and conditions. Before the meeting started we were honoured to hear an address from the Leeds strikers who were down in the Capital for the day, see the report on the front page. With members such as these we can be confident that the union will continue to be at the forefront of the fightback. During the next few months we will see the reintegration of the Canary Wharf members into our branch which will bring all the main London based national titles and agencies together under one roof – exciting times ahead!

NUJ Lobby 25th March 20 March 2009

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Time to put pressure on MPs over local media jobs

With a week to go until the NUJ’s parlimentary lobby over local media cutbacks, more than seventy UK MPs have signed a motion on the issue.

The parliamentary petition regrets job cuts at profitable local media and calls on the government to give state support ONLY in return for guarantees on investment in journalism.

MPs from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and seven different political parties have backed the demand.

The NUJ is calling on as many journalists as possible to attend a lobby of Westminster on 25 March and to write to their MPs before that date.

f you are coming email campaigns@nuj.org.uk for more info.

The NUJ estimates that nearly 2,000 jobs have been lost from regional newspapers, television, radio, and websites.

Early Day Motion 916 supporting local journalism has 71 MPs signed up from the Conservative, Demonractic Unionist, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru, Scottish Nationalist, and Social Democratic and Labour parties.

The lobby is on Wednesday 25 March. There is a briefing for MPs about regional journalism in the UK at 2pm in Committee Room 20 of the House of Commons. Individual journalists are encouraged to speak to their own MP after the briefing.

There will be an additional meeting for Welsh MPs at 3.30pm in Committee Room 21.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said: “It is important that as many people as possible lobby their MPs by letter and in person. We need to demonstrate to them that we are serious about Standing Up for Journalism.

“Please write to your MP even if they have signed the EDM – we need to create some momentum for the campaign.

“There is a lot of talk about state-subsidy, tax-breaks and statutory advertising. If that happened now it would not save jobs – it would just create a government-funded free cash point for profit-hungry speculators.

“Any state aid must be tied to guarantees about jobs and public service journalism – in newspapers, websites and broadcasting.

“There must also mechanisms to safeguard editorial integrity.

“The government also needs to look at backing new local media start ups as part of their agenda of supporting social cohesion.”

The lobby is part of a union-wide campaign against media cutbacks.

13 March 2009 updated 18 March 2009