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Messages of support for Swindon Advertiser journalists

1 January 2018

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Well done Swindon Advertiser journalists for taking a stand to support quality journalism. It is a terrible shame that you have been forced to go on strike action out of frustration of not being listened to by management which has refused to pay you properly, which has sacked many of your colleagues leaving you with crippling workloads and which has left readers in Swindon with a newspaper staff struggling to produce a decent newspaper. Despite the rain and the wind you have come out to tell your readers about the poverty wages you receive and your passion for quality journalism. Thanks also to members who have been supporting the strikers; all your efforts and donations are appreciated. This dispute is being supported across the globe, with fellow unions passing on good wishes. Now is the time for Newsquest management to meet us for proper discussions.”

Never has the case for quality local news seemed stronger – and yet Newsquest continues to pile on cuts and threaten working conditions. Well done to the NUJ chapel in Swindon for taking this on and showing that when it really matters, it is journalists themselves who are the best defenders of journalism. Tim Dawson, NUJ president.

Members of the Johnston Press NUJ Group Chapel send their congratulations and good wishes to colleagues at Newsquest as they take a stand against the company's programme of short-sighted and relentless cost-cutting. It is heartening to see the way members and their supporters have united in taking action in defence of local journalists and quality journalism. We sincerely hope that it will serve as a wake-up call to a profitable company that could afford to staff its newspapers properly and to pay its hard-working journalists a decent salary if it so wished. Investment in this newsroom and others around the country is the least the journalists, advertisers and, most importantly, readers of valued community titles such as the Adver deserve. In solidarity, Johnston Press NUJ Group Chapel.

The Yorkshire Post/Evening Post chapel wishes fellow NUJ members at the Adver all the best in their continued fight to secure a decent wage and working conditions for the paper's journalists. We stand with you in believing that Newsquest and other regional publishers must invest in local journalism if they are to properly serve their staff, readers, advertisers and shareholders, both now and in the future. This means paying the salaries required to attract and retain skilled journalists, maintaining staffing levels which allow those journalists to produce their best work, and putting the focus back on quality content. It is shameful that in the midst of this long-running dispute over pay and working conditions, Newsquest has chosen to announce further job cuts which will be hugely damaging to the efforts of the hard-working and committed journalists at the Adver to properly serve their community. In solidarity, Yorkshire Post/Evening Post chapel

On behalf of the Trinity Mirror Group Chapel I congratulate NUJ members in Swindon who are taking a stand against low pay and job cuts. Local and regional newspapers perform an essential role in our democracy and in these difficult times are more important than ever. We need well-paid journalists working in well-resourced newsrooms to keep local communities well informed - and that is what colleagues in Swindon are fighting for.  Martin Shipton

Sending our support to NUJ members at the Swindon Advertiser, out on strike over poverty pay and continuing cuts that hinder their efforts to cover their community. @ExpressNUJ

The NUJ’s newspapers and agencies industrial council wishes you every success with your action.The council includes representatives from national titles – such as the Guardian, FT, Times and Express – as well as Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press regional papers. We all condemn the way Newsquest is undermining you and your work by these continuing cuts and imposing working conditions that then threaten your health – and expecting high-quality journalism for pay levels that are insulting. We are appalled by the inhumanity of the company’s management in the way they try to enforce job cuts and pay restraint, especially that they have – yet again – done so at this time of year. We deplore the fact that have felt you have no choice but to spend the first two working days of a new year withdrawing your labour in order to protect journalism and journalists. That this is necessary is despicable. We know that such pressures on you are all the more obscene in light of the excessive remuneration packages for senior executives and that, as in the past, as a subsidiary of the Gannett Corporation, Newsquest sucks money out of this relatively fragile local economy to sustain institutional shareholders in the United States. The Council commends you on taking this stand. We hope management will acknowledge your plight and change their stance.Please know that colleagues elsewhere in the newspaper industry admire your stance and are with you in spirit today.
From the NUJ's Newspapers and Agencies Industrial Council

Solidarity With Striking NUJ Members @ Swindon Advertiser. Birmingham & Coventry NUJ branch, have donated £100 to the NUJ Wiltshire Branch, whose members employed by Newsquest are on the picket line today Monday 1st January 2018 and will be again tomorrow.

 Replying to @JustaScribbler @AdverStrike. Good luck to you OH - as a former Newsquest reporter, I sympathise greatly with your plight and battle. CarlEveCrime.

Sending our support to striking journalists at Newsquest’s Swindon Advertiser protesting at poverty pay and continuing cutbacks. What a start to the year! @NujGlasgow

All the very best for the strike – you are being treated appallingly by Newsquest. I was on the picket line nearly 40 years ago in the 1978/79 strike for better pay for provincial journalists. Your action is even more important, as it’s about the very survival of the local press in the face of devastating cuts by complacent and venal newspaper owners. Best wishes, Barry McLoughlin, NUJ Life Member, North West Lancs Branch.

Greetings! As the NEC rep for the South West, I’m emailing you my best wishes and solidarity with your strike action. Unfortunately I can’t make it to the picket lines this morning, but shall come tomorrow. As a former local newspaper reporter (Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo, Western Daily Press), I know how important local newspapers are for the community they serve and how hard you work to provide that service, despite all the cuts imposed upon you from above.  I have the utmost respect for you taking this action today and tomorrow. You are flying the flag not only just for yourselves, but for local newspaper reporters across the UK, saying enough is enough. You are providing a beacon of hope for all low-paid journalists in the country, and I hope they follow your bold example and make a stand similar to yours. With very best wishes – I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow, In solidarity! Tim Lezard

Good luck with it and hope the weather is bearable locally.  Small donation will be forthcoming once I can get to my building society, also, entirely coincidentally, headquartered in Swindon. A very Happy New Year to all, and best wishes. Steve W.

Good luck in your strike campaign on 2/3 January. I have e-mailed Chris Moore and Toby Granville to condemn their behaviour. Nick Wetton, NUJ Book Branch - freelance
Seasons Greetings and Solidarity to Newsquest Swindon staff#  David

For the Swindon strike of 2/3 Jan - Solidarity from south west Scotland to you all. 100 per cent behind you. I’m a junior reporter and it’s hard to look ahead and be optimistic about the future of this industry sometimes, but the fact that people will fight against the sort of shit that Newsquest does gives me great hope.  Thanks and good luck. Jen

Just a brief message of support for all journalists striking in Swindon. Definitely thinking of you all.  I've copied below the message that I sent to editorial director, Toby Granville and managing director, Chris Moore. ..I recently discovered that Swindon Newsquest reporters earn around £19,500 - a surprisingly small amount given their experience. Heavy staff cuts since 2010, have led to higher workloads and - I have it on good authority - incredibly low staff morale. I am writing to say that I support the decision of journalists to strike in January. And, I would ask you to consider increasing their salaries. This could perhaps be paid for by reducing the CEO's salary down to an even £400,000. Adding to the staff headcount would also lead to more sustainable workloads and ethical working conditions. Regards Ms. Adaobi Ifeachor

I was shocked to read what is happening at Newsquest and have written to your managing director and editorial director to protest. They are paying reporters what I was earning on a local paper in 1990! Good luck with your strike!  Happy Christmas and I hope 2018 brings better news.  Jo Siedlecka , Editor, Independent Catholic News

Dear Chris and Toby
I hope you are enjoying Christmas, with your friends and family? I imagine those staff that you made redundant a week ago are not, worried as I am sure they are about their futures. I hear that the meetings, in which you announced the redundancies, lasted just ten minutes. If that it correct, it is appallingly disrespectful to the people who will have worked hard for you under soul-crushing terms and conditions. A vibrant local press is fundamental to local democracy. How, for example, will the local council be held to account, their true intentions behind their spun rhetoric be uncovered and communicated to local people, if your paper has so few journalists that they are unable to properly investigate and report on what is happening? Please talk to your senior management team and reverse the decision to make so many staff redundant, and pay all your staff a decent wage. It is positively indecent that experienced reporters are earning just £19,500 a year when your chief executive takes home almost half a million pounds. I hope the new year brings a change of heart. With best wishes, Abigail Woodman

More power to you all. The union supported me twice in my career, when the situation seemed impossible; be strong and fight for your rights…..With all good wishes for a successful outcome. Gerry Buckland

I would like to express my support for the striking workers of your publication in the strongest possible terms. The disdain with which you appear to treat your own product, never mind the welfare of the workforce who produce it for you, strikes me as the height of hubris. If you are to continue your own lucrative careers you would do well to show the basis of them due respect. Sincerely,  Jack Latimer NUJ

Hello Newsquest Swindon NUJ members. I'm writing to offer my best wishes for your fight with the Scrooges at Newsquest who have chosen to announce redundancies over the festive period. I myself was made redundant by Newsquest three years ago in the run-up to Christmas. I had been with my paper for 31 years. I've since watched with sadness and dismay the regular cuts in staffing both at my former company in Bradford and across the diminishing Newsquest empire. I can only try to imagine how difficult it must be serving the readers in your communities with so few staff. Those who are left, with an even bigger workload, are paid pathetically poor wages while managers benefit from handsome salaries and bonuses. Good luck with your strike in the New Year. I'm sure all your Newsquest colleagues, present and past, will join me in wishing you all the best in your battle for fair wages and conditions and for the future of local journalism. Bob Smith, former Newsquest Group Chapel FoC and Newsquest Bradford Chapel FoC.

Dear NUJ,  Just a quick email in regards to the planned strike at the Swindon Advertiser in January. I'm writing as secretary of Swindon Trades Council, and would like to offer our support in the dispute. We would be happy to support picket lines, organise events, share information etc, so please feel free to forward this message on to the local branch/organiser or let us know how we can best show our solidarity. Yours, Jon Timbrell, Secretary, Swindon TUC.

Newsquest has an appalling historic reputation in Yorkshire and the North East – with a legacy of forcing strike action in protest against horrendous pay rates and working conditions. We have seen strikes at the Telegraph and Argus in Bradford and the Press in York. Members at the Northern Echo in Darlington voted last month in favour of action.
Newsquest’s horrendous approach is clearly a concern for everyone in the NUJ – and not local. I commend your stand. I wish it wasn’t necessary. However, I hope you know that colleagues elsewhere back the stand you are taking and extol your determination not to be cowed by a bullying corporation. Adam Christie, NEC member for Yorks, Humbs and the NE.

Great to hear the Swindon chapel is taking the fight to Newsquest over the job cuts and pay, the only way we can get better deals and protect jobs is through action, well done to you all!
Henry Widdas, Joint FoC at Preston chapel (Johnston Press.)

Please pass on my solidarity with the sisters and brothers of the Swindon Advertiser, who are standing up for us all by being on the picket line, Anton McCabe NUJ National Executive Council rep for Northern Ireland and Secretary, Omagh Trades Union Council.

Dear Mr Moore, As an NUJ member I am writing in support of my colleagues at Newsquest
Swindon undertaking this week's industrial action.I am shocked at the summary staff cuts made in the days before Christmas to teams that are already overworked and underpaid. I urge you to begin immediate negotiations with the NUJ in order to resolve the problems such cuts are creating and to reinstate threatened positions. Yours sincerely, Patric Cunnane. Dear colleagues, Fyi - I am also donating to the strike fund.

Solidarity to the Swindon Advertiser Chapel, it's brilliant to see NUJ colleagues fighting back against the poor pay and high workloads that many more of us are suffering at the hands of greedy media bosses. The union needs to look at how to spread this action to make it even more effective than it is now. It's clearly having quite an effect on the papers and this hasn't gone unnoticed, from what I've seen on social media. Please let us know how we can support your dispute further. I'm going to forward details of your dispute to Sheffield Trades Council, by the way. In solidarity, Julia Armstrong, Moc, Sheffield Newspapers chapel and chair, South Yorks branch (on behalf of both groups,

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