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Birmingham members badge up for journalism

5 June 2009

Staff at the Birmingham Post, Mail, Sunday Mercury and associated weeklies decided to Stand Up for Journalism today in the face of cutbacks and uncertainty over the future of their titles.

Scores of reporters, photographers, sub editors, desk staff, and technicians wore NUJ badges as a demonstration of their passion for quality journalism and belief that any further cuts would harm their titles.

Six months ago, a quarter of the editorial staff were made redundant.

Neil Elkes, joint father of the NUJ chapel, said:

"It is a simple demonstration that the chapel members are passionate about journalism; telling great local stories and believe in the various daily and weekly titles we produce.
"We are concerned that the owner Trinity Mirror is considering short-term cuts which we believe could impact on the quality of those titles, their circulation and harm their medium to long term future.
"I am pleased to say that the badges were also worn by several non-union colleagues who share our belief in quality journalism."

There are concerns about the economic situation and the chapel members are compiling their own constructive list of measures or suggestions to improve the circulation and revenue of the titles.

The chapel has also written to the management asking to be consulted before decisions are taken so that alternative proposals could be developed.

Neil Elkes added:

"Just over six months ago about a quarter of our colleagues were made redundant. We are working harder than ever, our news desks are crying out for extra, original copy, staff are working over their shifts, we cannot tolerate any further job losses."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern Organiser, said:

"We believe that Trinity Mirror is again plotting to cut in the Midlands where it hacked back 70 journalists' jobs just a few months ago.
"Despite the trail of devastation wreaked by the company, it is clear that its remaining journalists, now operating from the Fort Dunlop out of city site, are as loyal and committed to their titles as ever. I wish I could say the same about the company that employs them.
"The cuts have to stop before it is too late. Any more and the titles in the Midlands could become yesterday's news. I call on Trinity Mirror to declare its commitment to its quality journalism and to reassure the people of Birmingham and Coventry that it will not retreat still further from serving their communities."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, said:

"Protests like the one today in Birmingham are important as they bring NUJ members together and show management that journalists will not stand for attacks on their working conditions and the papers and websites they love to work for.
"The union will support the Post and Mail chapel in any action they take to defend jobs and quality journalism."

Tags: , newspapers, trinity mirror, quality journalism, birmingham, birmingham post and mail, sunday mercury, midlands weekly media, cuts, redundancies