Employees of Newsquest, one of the UK’s largest regional newspaper publishers with more than 200 papers and owned by the US company Garnett, are on strike over major reorganization, compulsory redundancies and salaries, as some of them are not paid the London living wage.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined their affiliate in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and supported a 12-day strike starting today in south London by the Newsquest Media Group’s workers.
After failure of negotiations with the management that took place until Wednesday, the union members voted unanimously to strike over the proposed cost-cutting drive which will see many senior roles cut and weeklies placed under a single group managing editor, media reported.
“Our chapels are determined to make the strongest possible case to management that they have had enough of the cuts, low pay and oppose the restructuring,” said NUJ national organiser Laura Davison.
The chapel’s demands include a 3 per cent salary increase while the NUJ seeks no compulsory redundancies, a workable structure that suits the needs of the employees, a halt to plans to move journalists further away from the communities they serve, a written guarantee that the implementation of new organisational systems will not result in further redundancies and fair pay for Newsquest South London journalists including the London living wage for all reporters.
“The IFJ and all its member unions worldwide stand squarely behind the NUJ and its members working for Newsquest in South London,” said the IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “We fully support them in this fight to roll back the loss of jobs and low pay and to oppose the restructuring. It is unacceptable that journalists in Newsquest have to fight for a living wage while their CEO in the US is paid £7.5m a year, a sum equivalent to the salaries of 454 reporters”.
European colleagues also showed their solidarity to striking workers.
“The EFJ fully supports the strikers’ actions in defence of their jobs. Local journalists should be properly paid. Quality local news requires fair working conditions for local journalists,” said the EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård.
The NUJ , which says it is still open to keep the negotiations with the management , has received support from local politicians, including Green Party Members of the London Assembly.
Ways you can support the strikers:
Send your messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweet your messages of support to @NUJofficial.
Get in contact with the Newsquest & Gannett management @Gannett:
Gracia Martore, Gannett CEO, Gannett Co, 7950 Jones Branch Drive McLean, VA 22107-0150 703-854-6000
Henry Faure Walker, chief executive, Newsquest Media Group Ltd, 30 Cannon Street, London EC4M 6YJ email@example.com @faurewalker
Gary Kendall, managing director, Newsquest (London) Ltd, Floor 10, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS firstname.lastname@example.org
If Newsquest does not see sense before Thursday and the strike goes ahead, we will be asking for financial help to aid the journalists out on strike. Please ask your branch to make a donation or feel free to make a personal donation. You can email email@example.com for details on how to make a donation.
If your paper is being affected, please ask your MP, London Assembly member or local councillor to get in touch with Newsquest and ask them to intervene to support quality local newspapers. You can contact your member via the Write to them website.
Photo Credit : The louse & the flea