In seven days’ time, NUJ members working for Newsquest titles in Carlisle, Whitehaven and Workington will take strike action on Thursday 20 December and they need your support.
Newsquest has made more than a 100 people redundant since it took over the Cumbria Newspapers Group in March and the company are making staff redundant just three days before Christmas.
The titles affected are the Carlisle News and Star, the Cumberland News, the Workington Times and Star and the Whitehaven News.
In Carlisle trainee reporters start on £16,500, with seniors starting on £20,500, sub-editors are paid from £23,500 and the pay band minimum for 5-year seniors is just under £26,000. And a new post has just been created which will see that slashed by £1,000 - in contravention of the company's house agreement with the NUJ.
Yet again Newsquest shows it is bad for journalists and journalism.
But not everyone at Newsquest has been affected by these ruthless cuts and low pay.
On the day our members announced strike action in Cumbria, Robert J. Dickey announced that he was retiring as president and chief executive of Newsquest US parent company, Gannett Inc. The official announcement revealed that he will be paid $435,000 (£350,000 at current exchange rates) each month until Tuesday 7 May as part of a transition plan. If he makes it through the five-month transition period then he will then scoop a $1,000,000 (£800,000) jackpot bonus.
What you can do to help:
• Share the strike announcement on social media – use twitter, facebook and other channels to show your support and to raise awareness before the day of action next week –
• Write a message of support for the strikers and send it to the local reps, get your branch or chapel to do the same. Please email Workington MoC Fed Bendendo at firstname.lastname@example.org and Carlisle joint MoC Louise Green at email@example.com
• Start planning a solidarity event in your own workplace for Thursday 20 December, make sure to advertise it to members in advance and take a picture on the day holding up signs that say ‘support the Newsquest strikers’ and ‘local news matters’ – make sure to share the pictures and messages using the hashtag #Newsqueststrike
• Do a whip-round to raise cash for the chapels’ hardship fund, ask for donations in your workplace and ask your local NUJ branch to donate money for the strikers. Send any money to account name: NUJ Manchester, account number: 20049274, sort code: 60-83-01
• Organise lots of email messages to the company, ask your colleagues, branch reps, other trade unionists, politicians and prominent public figures to write to Newsquest - offering support for the strikers, condemning Newsquest’s pay rates and expressing concern about the impact Newsquest is having on quality, sustainable journalism in the UK. Address your polite messages to - CN Group MD Jonathan Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in Henry Faure Walker at email@example.com and then send a copy of your message to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to publish information and updates about the strike nearer the time and on the NUJ website.
For now please start to prepare to help our members in need of support on the day.
If you have any queries about the dispute or campaign then please email: email@example.com
Thanks in advance for any support you can offer!