Monday, 27 June 2011

Send up the clowns - Newsquest on strike

NUJ members at Newsquest South London began their second strike over redundancies today dressed as clowns.

According to the union, the strikers "wanted to mirror the image of those making decisions" such as axing the whole sports and leisure department of eight journalists and making one commercial features writer redundant. The sports editor and one sports sub editor have already been made redundant.

The NUJ says for the first time, senior management has agreed to negotiate with the chapel and talks will take place on Monday 27 June.

The titles involved in the dispute are the Epsom Guardian, Elmbridge Guardian, Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Streatham Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Surrey Comet and Richmond & Twickenham Times.


Newsquest journalists in South London called off their four-day strike after negotiating an agreement to resolve the dispute over redundancies.

NUJ chapel members voted to accept an agreement to replace vacancies occurring over the next six months and to retain two extra editorial positions. The 33 Newsquest journalists had opposed management plans which included axing the whole sports and leisure department (eight journalists) and making one commercial features writer redundant. Staff returned to work at Newsquest offices in Sutton and Twickenham on Wednesday (June 29), ending a work to rule and calling off the last two days of a four-day strike, following negotiations which began last Monday.

NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: “The outcome of this dispute shows the need for management to work together with the NUJ to tackle the problems of the newspaper industry.

“This is the first NUJ dispute with Newsquest in which the group’s management has been willing to sit round the table with the union to reach agreement. That reflects the impressive achievement of our NUJ chapel in recruiting so many journalists into the union, and then negotiating a settlement from a position of strength.

“NUJ members at Newsquest in South London deserve our highest praise for their determination to see this dispute through to a satisfactory conclusion.The NUJ is committed to the survival of local newspapers, but we need the co-operation of managements across the industry to ensure that."

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