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Newsquest York industrial action to continue until June

26 March 2009

Journalists working for Newsquest York have given management notice of industrial action every day until the middle of June, following a second ballot.  The NUJ chapel has held two stoppages in the past week as part of their continuing fight against job cuts on their local papers.

Bosses at Newsquest York announced four job cuts last month. Newsquest York publishes The Press daily paper, the Gazette and Herald weekly series and associated websites.

Two NUJ members have been named for compulsory redundancy. Union members are unhappy about the cuts and the process that has been used to select people for redundancy.

The names of the people being made redundant were announced last Thursday. The following day, the NUJ chapel held a meeting that started at noon and went on until everyone's shifts had finished.

The chapel called a futher meeting yesterday at 9.15am. They were addressed by one of their colleagues who is facing dismissal and then went to see the management about his case. The meeting lasted several hours.

The chapel has been taking industrial action over the threatened cuts on-and-off since Friday 23 January. After a ballot, they gave notice of holding union meetings in work time every weekday – and go ahead with them when they have something to discuss.

To extend their campaign, the Newsquest York chapel held another ballot that this week returned a vote of 89 percent in favour of strike action and 94 percent in favour of action short of a strike. Under UK law, workers have protection from dismissal to take industrial action for twelve weeks after a ballot has been activated.

As a result, they have given management notice of holding union meetings at 9.15am every day until 15 June. NUJ chapel members lose pay every time they hold a disruptive meeting.

Jenny Lennox, NUJ Assistant Organiser, said:

"Last summer, the journalists at Newsquest York went on strike over pay and during that time they built strong bonds of friendship. They are determined not to let management pick them off for redundancy."

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"Newsquest York has been making good profits for years, but pays low wages and repeatedly cuts jobs. NUJ members in the city have been waging a heroic struggle against this unjust behaviour for most of the last year.
"They are standing up for professional journalism and for the right to know what's happening in their community of people in north Yorkshire."

Tags: , newspapers, newsquest, industrial action, york, cuts, york press, gazette & herald, websites, mandatory meetings, redundancies