Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greedy Gannett

Despite being community newspapers based in sleepy North Yorkshire, The Press and the Gazette & Herald are ultimately owned by the massive American-based corporation Gannett, owners of USA today and dozens of newspapers across the pond. The intermediary is Newsquest, the firm's British operation.

Despite pleading poverty when it comes to their employees wages, new figures show how the bosses are raking it in. According to Gannett's website, in the period from the start of this year to May 4 - precisely four months and four days - the firm's revenue was more than $2.3 billion. That works out at revenue coming in each day, every single day, of $18,531,936.

The company made in excess of $1 billion profit last year alone. Compared to that, our pay claim is peanuts...

Standing up again

On November 5, NUJ members at The Press and the Gazette & Herald took collective action as part of the union's Stand Up For Journalism day. Fed up of a culture of rising workloads, understaffing and poor wages, we staged two collective tea breaks to demonstrate our strength of feeling. Now we are preparing to stand up again, this time about pay.

Our protest last autumn was about the threat to quality local journalism posed by companies that are only too happy to cut resources back to the bone to boost profits. Our dispute is also about challenging the thinking of companies such as Newsquest that refuse to invest in their journalists or their newspapers but still rake in millions of pounds while the quality of their products - and the service they can provide to the community - declines.

We had a wonderful day of action on November. Here's hoping for more fireworks come Thursday.

Facebook friends

Our strike now has a support group on the social networking site Facebook. Please join the group, add your comments to support the strike and spread the word among your friends and colleagues.

Click here to sign up.