NUJ members at the North London & Herts newspaper group in Enfield are planning to hold a six-day strike, starting next Tuesday, over low staffing levels and claim it is the first such action to be taken by journalists on titles owned by Tindle Newspapers.
Tindle founder, Sir Ray Tindle, is a champion of local weekly newspapers and is proud that none of his newspapers have made journalists redundant during the recession.
The journalists said in a statement: "The company is refusing to replace members of staff when they leave, while expecting increased output from its already overworked employees – seemingly with no viable strategy to revive the newspapers’ fortunes.
"Owner Sir Ray Tindle has claimed to be the 'Saviour of local newspapers' and recently said: 'Despite the doom-mongers regional newspapers are alive and well...' Not in north London – here they suffer death by a thousand cutbacks. The company says our centre has to cut costs, but last year our employer Tindle Newspapers made more than £3million profit..."
"As a consequence of its refusal to replace staff an inferior product is being delivered to our readers and, therefore, our advertisers"
They also claim:
• More than a third of editorial staff have left without being replaced and key positions are not being filled.
• Just three reporters are churning out nine newspapers every week.
• Reporters do not have time to leave their desks, meaning they are missing stories of vital importance.
• We are unable to cover a range of council meetings, attend community events, court cases and inquiries and report them to the public.
• This leads to a failure to uphold the newspapers’ fine tradition of holding public bodies to account and the worst kind of “churnalism”.
A statement by the Tindle Board , reported by HoldtheFrontPage, says it regrets the decision of the chapel and the company was unable to take on new people or increase pay because of the centre's rising losses.
It says: "The NUJ announced its strike action the day after the Tindle board made an impassioned plea to all staff, including journalists, at the Enfield newspaper centre to work together to try to come up with new revenue-producing ideas to stem the centre's rising losses in the recession.
"Staff were told that no new people could possibly be taken on nor any pay increased since any such action would be irresponsible given the ongoing losses.
"Enfield staff were reminded that Tindle Newspapers is the only newspaper group to have avoided redundancies among journalists in the recession to date.
"They were told that Tindle is a family company which put staff and their families first in all decisions."North London & Herts Newspapers comprises: The Enfield Advertiser, The Edmonton Advertiser, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser & Herald, The Enfield Gazette, The Barnet & Potters Bar Press, The East Barnet Press & Advertiser, The Edgware & Mill Hill Press, The Hendon & Finchley Press and The Haringey Advertiser.
- Pic NUJ chapel North London & Herts Newspapers