Support the Newsquest Cumbria strikers: Thursday 20 December
19 December 2018
Journalists working for Newsquest owned newspapers in Carlisle, Whitehaven and Workington are on strike on Thursday 20 December.
Newsquest is the second largest regional and local newspaper company in the UK.
The titles affected by the strike are the Carlisle News and Star, the Cumberland News, the Workington Times and Star and the Whitehaven News.
What you can do to help:
- Send a message of support for the strikers by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use the TUC website e-action to contact Newsquest to complain about the cuts and offer your support for the strikers and quality, sustainable local journalism.
- Visit one of the picket lines -
> In Workington from 8am until 10am. The Energus building, Blackwood Road and Jubilee Road, Lillyhall Industrial Estate, Workington, CA14 4JW
> In Carlisle from 8am, and there will be a photo call is at midday. At the newspaper offices on Dalston Road, Carlisle, CA2 5UA
Newsquest has made more than a 100 people redundant since it took over Cumbria Newspapers in March 2018. The company is making staff redundant this week.
The job cuts have led to decades of experience walking out of the local newsroom, without ample replacements.
Dedicated journalists are left with an appalling choice, work dangerously long, stressful hours or watch as the newspaper quality declines.
There has also been no pay rise for journalists at Newsquest Cumbria since 2015 and only 2 pay rises in the last 11 years.
The company claim this is necessary to put a loss-making business back on an even keel - yet when the newspapers were bought for £3.6m there was £5m in the bank and the company was breaking even, despite having to pay £1m each year into its pensions account to plug a historical deficit.
Newsquest has invested millions - in buying the company, funding a massive redundancy programme and bringing in new technology which means that reporters - as well as researching and writing - now take photographs and write headlines and will soon be expected to input listings and letters. In no other successful or sustainable industry are people expected to work like this.
Newsquest claims to have increased reporters in the newsroom. This is untrue - and the 32 empty editorial desks which sit alongside the 20 staff members remaining in the Carlisle newsroom tell their own story.
Newsquest do not value their own workforce, who are the company’s best asset.
NUJ members have tried to work with the company to find solutions but they have constantly come up against a brick wall. Worst of all, Newsquest is not willing to listen.
Trade union reps and staff are regularly ignored.
So NUJ members as a last resort are now taking strike action, and calling on Newsquest to invest in journalists and quality local journalism – because it is at the heart of a healthy democracy.