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North West Evening Mail strike called off as job saved

16 January 2009

NUJ members in Cumbria have called off plans for industrial action after persuading management not to press ahead with a threatened compulsory redundancy.

A ballot of journalists at the North West Evening Mail in Barrow produced seventy-seven percent in favour of strike action. However, bosses at Cumbrian Newspapers had already agreed that a sports writer threatened with the axe could transfer to news.

Paul Turner, NUJ father of the newspaper chapel, said:

"There are now no compulsory redundancies of journalists at Barrow and that was the basis on which we balloted for industrial action. We are very happy that this was resolved with no compulsory redundancies from our members."

Two journalists have taken voluntary deals to go and an editorial assistant outside of the NUJ bargaining unit has been made compulsorily redundant. The sports reporter will fill a news post that had previously been left vacant.

As well as saving a job, the Evening Mail chapel resisted a management plan to freeze their annual pay rise of 5.05 per cent, which was part of a previously agreed two-year deal.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern Organiser, said:

"There is a problem of a long hours culture at Barrow. Some journalists have clocked up 100 hours in time owed. There is going to be a reorganisation and the chapel will take steps to ensure this problem is dealt with.
"An independent stress survey done by the chapel has shown that some areas need urgent attention to bring them into line with the health and safety executive's guidelines.
"There is a strong resolve in the chapel to preserve jobs so the long hours problem is not made worse."

Tags: , newspapers, redundancies, north west evening mail, cuts, barrow, pay, stress, cn group