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Guardian staff join battle to save The Observer

14 August 2009

Guardian Media journalists in London have unanimously passed a motion condemning proposals to downgrade the 200-year-old Observer newspaper. Management at the company are considering options that include closing the title or turning it into a magazine.

The resolution passed by Observer and Guardian NUJ members vowed to fight to save the Sunday paper and to resist compulsory redundancies:

"The Guardian and Observer NUJ chapel believes that the survival of the Observer as the world's oldest Sunday newspaper is essential for the protection of pluralism and diversity in the British media and calls on the Scott Trust and GNM/GMG management to reject proposals to drop the title, downgrade it to a weekly magazine or undermine its character as an independent and competitive Sunday newspaper.
"The chapel believes that the closing of a 200-year-old newspaper cannot be regarded as in any way
comparable to other product changes currently being considered as part of the drive to reduce losses and offers its full support to the public campaign to save the Observer as an independent Sunday newspaper.
"The chapel is committed to the editorial autonomy, resourcing and identity of both the Observer and the Guardian – along with the protection of editorial standards and absolute rejection of compulsory redundancies across all platforms."

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ Head of Publishing, said:

"The Observer has many thousands of loyal readers, and workers who are committed to seeing the paper succeed.
"To close it would be throwing away all that goodwill along with hundreds of years of tradition.
"The paper has a robust circulation of around 400.000, and it would be foolhardy of management to think the company's problems could be solved with such a simplistic and ill-conceived approach.
"There is already a large and growing degree of public support for the paper so its vital that managenment engage with the union now and listen to the paper's workers and readers.
"The NUJ will support the Guardian and Observer chapel in their fight against these potential cutbacks."

Tags: , newspapers, observer, guardian news and media, guardian, cuts, scott trust