Local Press Strike for Quality Journalism

15th April, 2011


© Anne-Marie Sanderson

Staff at North London & Herts Newspapers say “Enough is enough” in the first strike in Tindle Newspapers’ history

From Tuesday, April 19 journalists at the north London newspaper group will go on strike over the Tindle business plan that is leaving once award-winning newspapers to dwindle and die.

Bad for staff

The company is refusing to replace members of staff when they leave, while expecting increased output from its overworked employees – seemingly with no viable strategy to revive the newspapers’ fortunes.

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.

• 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.

• In the past few weeks management has slashed the Sports section by half while the future of the entire Arts & Leisure section is under threat.

Bad for the community

 

As a consequence of its refusal to replace staff an inferior product is being delivered to our readers:

• 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’

“It’s a dispute that should not be happening. If this business is to have a future it must rely on the quality of journalism and sufficient staff to produce the titles.” Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ Head of Publishing

“I am very concerned about the issues raised by staff at these papers. Residents in Enfield are proud to have – and deserve to continue getting – such a good quality, campaigning newspaper that can boast a distinctive style. We must remember what an important role regional newspapers play in the local community.” Nick De Bois, Conservative MP for Enfield North

“I’ve watched the standard of these papers drop over past months with great sadness. I believe that the local journalists are under additional pressures due to the reductions in staff and the number of papers they are expected to produce. This leaves them less able to investigate and evaluate stories, which not only affects quality, it affects community accountability as well.” Andy Love, Labour MP for Edmonton

• Protesters will be outside their offices at Refuge House, 9-10 River Front, Enfield, EN1 3SZ (just across from Enfield Town railway station) from Tuesday to Thursday over the next two weeks.

• North London & Herts Newspapers comprises: The Enfield Advertiser & Herald, 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.

Visit the campaign blog, Facebook and Twitter

Photo opportunity: Wednesday, April 20 from noon when a mass demonstration will take place featuring The Grim Reaper and a funeral procession

Please support our NUJ colleagues and London Photographers’ Branch members.

• For more information call FOC Jonathan Lovett on 07917 871 421 or Barry Fitzpatrick, on 020 7843 3706.

 

Your fellow journalists in the Chapel would be grateful if freelances were unavailable for work during those times and do not contract to work during those times.

The law requires us to make clear that if a freelance is already contracted to undertake work during those times but declines to do so, this would amount to a breach of contract, with the possibility of a claim by the company in the event of them being able to prove damages.

There is also the possibility that if you do not honour a contract the company would not offer you work in the future. Best then just not to accept the work in the first place.

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