The Unite chapel at Guardian News and Media has written an open letter to management invoking the spirit of CP Scott in opposing plans to outsource the company's IT services. The letter says: "We lose the independence that Scott treasured by divesting technological control to an organisation with different objectives, to an organisation that does not share our 'common and glorious goal'. "Perhaps the greatest strength The Guardian has in the modern maelstrom is its brand, its core values, its sense of community and togetherness. Outsourcing is completely contrary to this brand. Our readers are shocked, appalled and disgusted by the tale of the Guardian outsourcing one of its core services. They expect to read such tales IN The Guardian about OTHER organisations... "Our staff are overwhelmingly opposed to this adventurist initiative. Nine hundred of us signed a petition to show that opposition. As an organisation we are rightly proud of our inclusive initiatives to involve staff in determining the line of the paper for the general election. But our staff are ignored when it comes to outsourcing. Apparently we believe our editorial staff should have a say in our line on the running of the country, but they are denied a say in the running of their own organisation." It adds: "Outsourcing means offshoring. Outsourcing means redundancy. TUPE means getting somebody else to do the dirty work of making staff redundant. A recent straw poll of staff affected by outsourcing showed next to nobody would transfer to any new outsourcer. All the knowledge, skills and commitment of current staff will be lost one way or another. This is, of course, one of the major risk factors for any outsourcing initiative. "Even those of an alternative tradition like the Murdoch empire have not outsourced IT in the extensive way that our management is trying to do." It concludes: "The collaborative approach taken by Editorial management and the NUJ should be repeated by Commercial management and UNITE. We respectfully ask those who have the responsibility for deciding how The Guardian should operate in the future to respond in the spirit and tradition that CP Scott would expect of this special organisation."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery