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Local MP replaces newspaper column with solidarity message

NUJ on strike  -  © Marcus Mingins

26 August 2020

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western is backing a strike by local journalists.

NUJ members working for Bullivant Media Limited are currently striking in response to the company's redundancy plans, new working practices, and after months of journalists being underpaid.

Matt Western writes a fortnightly column for the Leamington Observer, but the company also runs other weekly free newspapers and websites with titles including the Coventry Observer, Rugby Observer, Stratford Observer, Solihull Observer, Redditch Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Worcester Observer and Evesham Observer.

Instead of writing his column this week, Matt Western MP contacted the journalists to support their strike. He said:

"In place of my normal column, I'm writing this message of support for all those on strike at the Leamington Observer this week.

"Staff have only been receiving part of their pay over the last few months, which is unacceptable. There are also plans for redundancies and non-editorial staff have been asked to take over editorial functions, which risks the integrity of the paper.

"It is vital to our democracy that we have a thriving local press. Therefore, I support the strike actions being taken.

"I urge Bullivant Media, who own Leamington Observer and a number of sister publications, to resolve this dispute with their employees in a fair way as soon as possible."

The NUJ chapel at Bullivant Media Limited was formed earlier this year and includes all 18 members of the editorial team.

The Bullivant Media NUJ chapel said:

"Strike action is a last resort and we continue to invite the company to respond to our reasonable demands.

"All we are asking for is that journalists are paid what they are owed in future, and staff should be properly consulted on the restructuring proposals. We also want the company to agree to avoid compulsory redundancies."

The chapel voted unanimously in favour of industrial action, they are on strike today and plan to strike again on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 September.

Things you can do to help:

Send a quote in support of the strike to campaigns@nuj.org.uk

Contact the company to raise your concerns and ask them to resolve the dispute with the union. Email the managing director Chris Bullivant Jr - Chris.Bullivant@bullivantmedia.com
and fellow director Pat Bullivant - pat.bullivant@bullivantmedia.com

Supporters can donate to the NUJ strike hardship fund:

Sort code                 60-83-01
Account number      20049274
Account name         NUJ Manchester

Please label donation as ‘Bullivant strike’

Access all the latest NUJ news about Bullivant media.

Tags: , parliament uk, leamington observer, bullivant media, bullivant media limited, industrial action, strike, coventry observer, rugby observer, stratford observer, solihull observer, redditch standard, bromsgrove standard, worcester observer, evesham observer, local news matters