Messages of solidarity to Newsquest strikes in York, Bradford and Darlington
17 February 2014
Three 24-hour strikes started today in Bradford, York and Darlington over the transfer of production to a subbing hub in Newport, Wales, resulting in job losses.
Newspapers affected include titles such as the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Northern Echo and The Press in York. There are 10 jobs at risk in Bradford, five in York and 10 in Darlington.
Chris Morley, Northern and Midland organiser, said:
"Despite the intimidation and threats from management, the strikes are solid. And while it is heartening to see David Coates, Newsquest North-east managing director, making a public statement for once, sadly what he is saying is fiction.
"The reason we are on strike is to defend jobs that will be lost. People will be forced out by Newsquest's decision to move production 250-plus miles from the North-east to Wales. We are taking action to defend these jobs, to defend local journalism and to defend colleagues in Wales who will be taking on a huge quantity of extra work.
"Journalists should be working at the heart of the communities they serve."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"The turnout in Darlington was rock solid and the support from the community was brilliant and inspiring."
Messages of support
The great strength of local newspapers is that the reporters, subs, photographers and editors who put them together are rooted in their communities. The idea that they can be put together remotely from another country without this impacting on the quality of the product is absurd. The Newsquest staff who have been forced to take this action in defence of local journalism deserve our full support and solidarity. John McDonnell MP, secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group.
I am very sympathetic to the action you have taken as I believe strong local papers are vital to the health of local communities and local democracy. Decisions taken in far away places by people who know little about local conditions are very damaging. Outsourcing and standardisation of local papers are eroding the quality of much loved papers and this is a dangerous trend.” Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland
Your chapel’s to fight to save jobs and keep production of this valuable publication in the North of England close to the communities it serves has the full support of the NUJ National Executive Council. Your stand is an inspiration to workers in regional newspapers throughout Britain and Ireland who find their newspapers and their jobs similarly threatened by the actions of managements whose reading skills are limited to numbers on spreadsheets. Cynical and short-sighted moves such as this proposal by Newsquest to move subbing and production of newspapers serving towns and cities in the North of England hundreds of miles away to Wales must be fought with all the resources at our disposal. Your action should make Newsquest sit up and take notice that the concepts of loyalty and solidarity with colleagues and communities are not dead in this part of the world and that their efforts to rip jobs out of local centres will be resisted at every turn. Newsquest management should now call a halt to this ridiculous and ill-thought out move and enter into immediate talks with the NUJ on reaching a settlement which keeps jobs and production in the North of England where they belong. NUJ President Barry McCall
We welcome the opportunity to send a message of solidarity, on behalf of all URTU members, to our brothers and sisters at the NUJ taking direct action. Robert Monks, general secretary, United Road Transport Union
Greetings and solidarity from the South West TUC and from the NUJ's Gloucestershire Branch. As a former regional newspaper reporter myself, I know how important your journalism is; important to the communities you serve and important to local democracy. I hope your strike goes well and you're not getting too wet on the picket lines. Congratulations for taking a stand. You are an example to journalists everywhere. Solidarity! Tim Lezard, NEC, South West TUC and NUJ Gloucestershire branch
Please pass on my apologies to the Yorkshire chapels that I can't be with them on the picket line today, but I - and NUJ members across Scotland - are very definitely with each of them in spirit and solidarity. They have fought a long and brave battle for decent pay, in the face of intimidation and stonewalling by the company. Enough is enough. The employers know how to resolve this dispute - the solution is investment in journalism and investment in its journalists. To every member of the chapels taking action today: you are fighting for all of us. Stay strong because your union is behind you all the way. Solidarity. Pete Murray, NEC Scotland
Local journalism is a pillar of democracy. So what the hell's going on?! All the best with your determined efforts to defend it in Bradford, Darlington and York. Phil Sutcliffe, NEC (London seat) and Freelance Industrial Council
No-one wants to be on strike so it takes a lot of to make journalists take industrial action. We in Wales fully support your action in defence of jobs and editorial standards. You have our total respect for fighting for your colleagues' jobs and the quality of your titles. Mike Smith, NEC and Cardiff branch secretary
Greetings from Newsquest Bolton. Our members fully support your brave and uncompromised stand and we hope that your actions will force management to back down from this ludicrous plan. We in Bolton will probably face a similar dispute as yourselves later this year. But you are at the vanguard of the fight to protect jobs. We wish you 100 per cent success and are delighted to give you our full solidarity. David Thomson, Bolton News-Bury Times NUJ FoC.
Hi colleagues at Newsquest. I send you best wishes and good luck in your battle with Newsquest management. Barry Reamsbottom SW London
We can only wish you solidarity and all strength to your cause. From a lifelong NUJ member and MU member husband! jacq@blackberry
They will win if they stand together. I got out of newspapers due to the worsening conditions and it’s about time they made a stand. Good luck and stand firm. Neil Graham
Greetings from the south! I know standing on cold picket lines can be difficult at times, but having joined pickets in both Bradford and York in the past, I know how much camaraderie you can have too. You are taking a stand on an issue that matters to every local newspaper journalist, and you should be exceedingly proud of that. I know that members are proud of you. I wish I could be there with you, but keep up the good work. Yours in solidarity, Jenny Lennox.
Please send my support to all Newsquest strikers. Kevin Atkins, Life member
Solidarity greetings to all Newsquest members on strike tomorrow. Stay strong and win! Stewart Perkins, Life member NUJ, Retired member Unison, Unite member
Your Glasgow colleagues salute you all for taking such a tough stand. We really wish you well in your struggles and are happy to support you all in what ever way we can. Keep up the good fight. Gordon Thomson, Herald & Times FoC
UCU members in Hull wish you success in your industrial action, and in your fight for fair treatment from Newsquest. In solidarity. Helen MacCarthy, UCU branch secretary, University of Hull
We, the Newsquest Cheshire and Merseyside NUJ chapel, met on Monday night to put on record our support for our comrades in Yorkshire and the north east as they planned to take part in industrial action on Tuesday.
Our chapel fully backs the action our fellow members have had to resort to in their efforts to oppose the threat of compulsory redundancies and the impact on quality and workloads following the transfer of subbing work to Newport, Wales.We hope Newsquest will take note of the serious message being sent by their staff and will agree to the union's request for a meeting with ACAS to open a dialogue and find a sensible solution. Yours in solidarity. FoC Tony Howard, MoC Vicki Stockman, The Newsquest Cheshire and Merseyside chapel
Sending support from Doncaster to all comrades on strike in York, Darlington and Bradford today.
As a veteran of the NUJ strike scene, direct action can make the bosses sit up and take notice.
Good luck with your efforts - and special hello to former Donny reporter Kate Liptrot - now sticking it to 'em in York.
All the best - solidarity! Darren Burke, chief reporter, South Yorkshire Newspapers
The National Council of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom met last night and sent a special message of support to the Newsquest workers standing up for quality local journalism in their strike action today.
All the very best to the hard-working staff at Newsquest who are rightly fighting the daft idea of shifting production to miles away from their communities. Regional news organisations need to show committment to the communities they serve and not just plunder them to shift money out of the area. Peter Johnson
Stand your ground guys – the fightback starts here Paul Burnell, broadcast journalist, North West News Online
Just a quick note from Glasgow to applaud your actions and congratulate you on taking a stand against our employer. You have the full backing of the Glasgow chapel. United we stand. More power to you. Norry Wilson, Evening Times
Best of luck for all Newsquest colleagues on strike today. Teddy Jamieson, writer The Herald and Sunday Herald
Congratulations on your magnificent stand against bullying, jobs-slashing bosses! Yours in solidarity, Phil Turner, FoC, Rotherham Advertiser NUJ Chapel and vice-chair south Yorkshire Branch.
On behalf of the South Yorkshire Newspapers chapel, I'd just like to offer our support in your bid for quality journalism to prevail. It's strengthening to see that so many of us are still proud to put together high-quality papers despite the constant setbacks we all suffer from the companies we are with. I am saddened that these companies force us into such measures to fight for our right to serve our communities to the best of our abilities.
Your strike brings back memories of the indefinite action we took a couple of years ago. It wasn't easy by any standards, we were out picketing for two solid months in all-weathers but what got us through was the support and solidarity shown from fellow NUJ members as well as our readers who backed us all the way. I'd just like to commend you on your 24-hour strike stance. Let's hope they sit up and take notice of your passion to continue to provide your communities with the best possible newspapers... and online coverage, videos, photos etc! Hayley Paterson, South Yorkshire Newspapers Chapel
As one who stood out in freezing cold in Bradford in the late 1970s in support of the six-week NUJ strike I back the current action. I retired 20 years ago having had the best of things and am glad to be out of it now. But good luck to those involved today. David Swallow. NUJ life member
The strikers' colleagues at Newsquest's Blackburn operation expressed strong support for the action: "The Newsquest Blackburn Chapel would like to give our full support and express solidarity and admiration for the industrial action taken by NUJ members in York, Bradford and Darlington today. The action displays the outrage at the nonsensical decision to produce papers so far away and the terrible and entirely avoidable human cost of hardworking, skilled and dedicated journalists being cast aside by Newsquest. It is our belief that the strength of a local press is founded on its connection to the communities it serves. Critical in this relationship is a clear understanding of the locality. Local papers should be produced in the heart of the communities they serve, not 250 miles away. It is anticipated, and greatly feared, that a similar announcement will be made in the North West in the near future and so the eagerness and vigour in which you are fighting these outrageous changes is very much appreciated." Chris Gee, FoC Newsquest Blackburn
Former NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said Newsquest's plan was "a stupid idea from a profit-hungry company defended by an incompetent management who reveal their complete lack of understanding of journalism. Stand strong...we all stand with you!"