Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Guardan and Observer staff in strike action vote

Guardian and Observer office (pic: Jon Slattery)
A clear majority of NUJ members on the Guardian and Observer have voted in a ballot that they are "prepared" to take strike action in their dispute over compulsory redundancies.

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "We are still at ACAS and talks continue. We remain hopeful that this will be resolved through negotiation."

GN&M said it needed to cut 100 editorial posts as part of a plan to make £7million savings to the annual budget. The NUJ, in negotiation with the management, says it has so far halved that target through agreed voluntary redundancies. The union has also asked for those identified as under threat to be put on a redeployment register.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “We are still in talks at Acas, the arbitration service, and hope for a negotiated settlement. The editor Alan Rusbridger and the Guardian management must now reflect on the strength of the vote and what is says in terms of their staff’s confidence in them.

"The union has suggested a whole range of cost-cutting measures – including cuts to executive pay, job sharing and more part-time working. The management has taken a serious risk of jeopardising the culture within the Guardian by trying to force through compulsory redundancies.”

The ballot result was:

There were 424 ballot papers returned (including one spoilt)

In answer to the question "Are you prepared to take strike action" the vote was:

Yes: 345 (81.6%)
No: 78 (18.4%)

In answer to the question "Are you prepared to take action short of a strike" the vote was:

Yes: 374 (88.4%)

No: 49 (11.6%)

Brian Williams, Guardian FoC, said: “The result speaks for itself. We will use this strong message from the chapel as the basis for establishing the future stability of the company, taking into account the concerns of the papers’ journalists.” 

  • At the end of last year the GN&M outlined its targets for job cuts – including 22 from Guardian news (including the business, media, society, education and consumer desks); 15 from culture, features, Saturday Guardian and Guardian Weekly; eight from sport; three from comment; eight from the Observer and six from pictures.
  • The Guardian and Observer NUJ chapel has its own website here.

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