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Newsquest strikes spread to Blackburn, Bradford, Bolton, York

9 December 2010

NUJ members at Newsquest centres in Blackburn, Bradford, Bolton and York have voted decisively for strike action.

Their colleagues in Scotland, NUJ members at The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times, have voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action to fight compulsory redundancies.

Over 90 per cent of NUJ members at Newsquest Bradford voted in favour of strike action and all voters supported action short of a strike. Newsquest Bradford includes the Bradford Telegraph & Argus; Ilkley Gazette; Wharfedale & Airedale Observer; Craven Herald and the Keighley News.

All NUJ members who took part in the ballot at Newsquest Blackburn have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and action short of a strike.

NUJ members at Newsquest Bolton have also voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

Newsquest Bolton and Newsquest Blackburn include the Bolton News; the Bury Times Group weekly series (the Bury Times, Radcliffe Times and The Guide covering Prestwich & Whitefield); the Lancashire Telegraph; Burnley Citizen; Blackburn Citizen; Chorley Citizen; Bury Journal; Bolton Journal and Westmorland Gazette.

NUJ members at Newsquest York also voted overwhelmingly for strike action and action short of a strike. Newsquest York publishes The Press and the Gazette & Herald.

Newsquest Warrington NUJ members voted last night for action on the ongoing pay freeze in their first strike ballot since they revived their NUJ Chapel.

Newsquest Warrington includes the Warrington Guardian; St Helens Star; Sale and Altrincham Messenger; Stretford and Urmston Messenger; Runcorn and Widnes World; Northwich Guardian; Knutsford Guardian; Winsford and Middlewich Guardian; and Crewe Guardian.

The strong results in favour of action coupled with further announcements of strike ballots shows the determination of NUJ members at Newsquest to stand together to oppose pay freezes, attacks on pensions, job cuts and redundancies.

The attacks on journalism at Newsquest continue despite the company generating huge profits.

The NUJ parliamentary group this week have launched an Early Day Motion in support of NUJ members at Newsquest, calling on the company to enter into meaningful discussions with the union at all levels to resolve the disputes by protecting jobs and investing in journalism. 

Bob Smith, Father of Chapel, Newsquest Bradford Chapel, and chair of the NUJ Newsquest Group chapel said:

"This is a wake-up call to managers who continue to bury their heads in the sand while this huge wave of discontent washes across Newsquest. Paul Davidson and his regional managers need to take their fingers out of their ears and listen to NUJ members in Bradford, in Southampton, Brighton, Darlington, York, Bolton and Blackburn, Oxford and Andover who are telling them the same thing: come to the negotiating table, for the sake of your journalists, your readers and your company."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, said:

"Newsquest and their American owners have been relentless in their pursuit of higher profits at the expense of quality journalism and their staff have simply had enough. The growing anger amongst journalists throughout the group and their determination to bring the company to the negotiating table is clear.
"Just this week members in Southampton and Brighton have been on strike and colleagues on sister titles will soon join with them for more industrial action. They have the full backing of everyone in the NUJ in their battle to save jobs, for a fair pension deal and a long-overdue salary increase that reflects the vital work they do. Our members and the communities they serve expect and deserve better."

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