Friday, May 16, 2008

Strike fund gets another boost

Our strike fund has been boosted still further after the Rotherham branch donated £100 from their fighting fund. We also owe a debt of gratitude to two more of our own chapel members who have both donated £50 to the fund. That takes our total to an impressive £1,200. Preparations are now well underway for the five strike days next week so please keep branch, chapel and individual donations coming. We are enormously grateful for all the support we've had so far.

Flooded with support

Many more messages of support are flooding in to Many thanks to all our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement and please keep them coming. Here's a selection of the most recent emails:

"Good on you for sticking to your guns - managements may be pleading poverty, but shareholders' pockets are full, and so should ours be. We're going through the travails of renegotiating a pay deal and back you fully."

"As an ex-FoC of the York chapel it makes me enormously proud to see the group in such a healthy and feisty condition. I know there'll be a lot of my friends and colleagues from the Evening Press taking part in next weeks' strike, so to you all, and of course members who have joined since I left, I'm thinking of you. All 130 NUJ members over here at Leeds are right behind you. Loads of members have been emailing since they heard you were going out, stressing how much they support you and our proposal to donate the £500 to your fighting fund."

"Good luck with your action. This is an all too familiar story of a newspaper group raking in massive profits on the one hand and, on the other, trying to get away with cutting resources to the bone and depriving hard-working, dedicated and well-respected journalists of a living wage. Having worked for Newsquest I know exactly what you're up against, but you are in the right and you have our total support in your fight. Stick together, stay strong, and you can win."

"Good luck with your strike - we went on strike in Coventry three years ago and we're still reaping the benefits in pay negotiations. Once they realised we were prepared to go on strike and not just talk about it they started to take us more seriously and now they actually negotiate instead of just telling us there isn't any money for pay rises."

"I worked in provincial newspapers for years before moving into Press & PR, so I know what rubbish wages you get from the likes of Newsquest (in my area, they've got the Harrow Times). Press on, keep the faith, best of luck."

Spin by numbers

Newsquest York's managing director Steve Hughes put out a statement yesterday about our chapel's planned five-day strike. An article on the Press Gazette website included this:

Hughes rejected the union’s “misleading” claim about staff turnout in the strike ballot and said that 22 from a possible 58 voted in favour of the walk-out.

It is worth pointing out that it is simply untrue to say 58 people could have voted for a walkout. Obviously, the only people entitled to do so are union members, and there are 34 NUJ members at Newsquest York. Look at it that way and we have a big majority - close to 65%.

Of course, some people were unable to return their ballots, those on holiday during the voting period, for example. Of those who did cast their votes - 26 members - 85% said yes to strike action.

And who said journalists were no good with numbers?