Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Journalists take a stand

Journalists at The Press and Gazette and Herald in York walked out of work as their dispute with management over job losses continued.

Members of NUJ chapel held a 12-hour meeting yesterday [Tuesday 24 February], starting at noon and finishing at midnight. The meeting, held in the Five Lions pub in Walmgate, York, came following last Friday’s announcement that seven out of 59 editorial jobs were to go at the Newsquest titles.

It was the latest in a series of mandatory meetings held by the chapel in recent weeks, but the first to last more than an hour. It is believed to have caused major disruption to both the daily title, The Press, and its weekly sister-paper, the Gazette and Herald, which prints on a Tuesday.

The NUJ has called for guarantees that Newsquest will not force through compulsory job losses at the papers, to no avail. The decision to stay out all afternoon yesterday followed the release, by managing editor Steve Hughes, of a skills matrix, proposed for use in the event of compulsory lay-offs.

Joint Fathers of Chapel, Tony Kelly and Gavin Aitchison, said: “We have been pressing the company for nearly two months to assure our members that there will be no compulsory redundancies. Newsquest has failed to give that assurance, and having seen the arbitrary and unjust assessment criteria proposed by the company, the chapel decided it was time to take a stand.

“The Press and Gazette and Herald have suffered horrific cuts in recent years. The papers have been mismanaged and mistreated, and further cuts will only serve to further hinder our ability to serve our readers in York, North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire.

“Newsquest (York) Ltd has repeatedly recorded multi-million profits, which have been shipped to its parent company in the United States. The journalists and readers of The Press and Gazette and Herald deserve better than Newsquest is able or willing to offer.”

Adam Christie, NUJ National Executive Council member for the North East of England, who attended the meeting, said: “If taking action is the only way journalists can get their voices heard, then this is what we will have to do.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

More cuts announced

SEVEN out of 59 editorial jobs are set to be cut at The Press in York.
Newsquest management announced the cuts in a staff meeting on the newsroom floor this afternoon.
The proposed cuts include four journalists, two editorial support staff and a graphic artist.
NUJ York today condemned the decision, the latest in a series of cut-backs at The Press.
In a statement, joint fathers of chapel Tony Kelly and Gavin Aitchison said: "The Press and its journalists have been battered by repeated and callous cuts in recent years, placing serious strain on our ability to serve the people of York, North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire.
"Today's announcement is a further body-blow to local journalism in our region. We have no faith whatsoever in Newsquest's commitment to quality journalism, nor its ability to deliver it."
The NUJ chapel has already given notice of industrial action for every weekday between now and March 30.
Jenny Lennox, NUJ Assistant Organiser, said: “By giving notice of discontinuous industrial action, starting afresh every day at noon, the chapel has the option of meeting whenever they feel the need to.”
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, also condemned the cuts.
She said: "Our chapel is very resourceful and we will support them fully in their battle to defend journalists and journalism.”
The news comes as journalists at the Yorkshire Post - which also covers York - and its sister paper the Yorkshire Evening Post are striking over redundancies.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NUJ Leeds the way

Journalists at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, over savage cuts planed by Johnston Press.
The NUJ will be striking from Thursday 19 February to Sunday 22 February, and again from Thursday 26 February to Sunday 1 March.

NUJ York backs the NUJ Leeds chapel 100% in their fight against Johnston's continued butchery of local journalism.

A Facebook group has been set up for anyone wanting to show their support to the journalists. NUJ York will also be joining NUJ Leeds on the picket line during the strike.

Back on the go...

After a six-month hiatus, we're planning to get the blog up and running as a regular source of NUJ York news. Watch this space...