Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reporting the redundancies

News of the eight planned redundancies (in addition to one post remaining unfilled) among editorial staff at The Press and the Gazette & Herald has reached the trade press, with Press Gazette and Hold The Front Page both covering the story.

Hold The Front Page also has news of more brutal job cuts by Newsquest at the Northern Echo, based in Darlington. There, ten editorial posts are to be axed through non-replacement of staff and early retirements, rather than redundancies, which gives some idea of how below-strength this rapacious company runs its newsrooms.

The NUJ website nationally also covers the stories, with its coverage of the York job cuts making clear that management's "consultation" is a sham as union representatives have been given no details of so-called restructuring plans. It also features the news from Darlington

In today's Press, meanwhile, there is a 150-word filler setting out how "difficult trading conditions" have forced the company to cut jobs. Managing director Steve Hughes says the company must "expand and contract with the market", which is utter nonsense: staff in York suffered cutsbacks and redundancies throughout the good economic times, during which Newsquest scarcely invested a penny. No response from NUJ reps
was permitted.

Archbishop's prayers for pickets

Divine assistance may soon grace the NUJ's campaign for fair pay at The Press and the Gazette & Herald. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, responded to a letter from the chapel making him aware of the planned strike action by offering prayers for chapel members.

He wrote: "I was saddened to read of the strike action at the York Press and the difficulties you have experienced in trying to reach agreement thus far. Please keep me informed of developments and be assured of my prayers for your members during this difficult time."