More support offered on second day of Bullivant strike
NUJ members pleased by the messages of support and solidarity.
As NUJ members continue their strike and picket line today, new messages of support have come in for the Bullivant Media journalists –
"The NUJ's Irish executive council extends solidarity to the Bullivant Media chapel and congratulates NUJ members at the company on their determined stand in the face of an obdurate management which has shown scant regard for their workers. The Bullivant titles have been built up through a small team of professional journalists who are deserving of recognition for the way they have served their communities across Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands.
"Their demands for proper terms and conditions of employment, the right to be consulted through their trade union and for a guarantee that professional journalism will not be compromised deserve to be taken seriously. Local journalism will not survive if journalists working in regional media organisations are not properly remunerated and accorded the respect which they deserve."
"To take strike action at any time is a courageous act, but to do so at this time with all the additional difficulties involved is deserving of our respect and admiration. No NUJ chapel ever goes on strike lightly, but we know that all other avenues have been exhausted. The cause is just: fair pay, opposition to compulsory redundancies and commitment to professional journalism. The NUJ's Scottish executive council stands in solidarity with the NUJ chapel and calls upon the directors of Bullivant Media to make a genuine effort to resolve the dispute."
"Members of the NUJ's Welsh executive council express solidarity with colleagues working for Bullivant Media. Your fight for quality journalism and against bad employment practices is our fight. The NUJ consistently stands up for fair employment rights and the value of holding those with power over local communities to account. Companies need to understand that's what their readers want and expect."
"I want to offer my solidarity to the NUJ members striking this week at Bullivant Media as they demand proper pay and conditions and the right to be consulted through their union, the National Union of Journalists, on far reaching restructuring proposals. Well done on defending job and defending quality local journalism."
Esther Lynch, deputy general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
"The commitment of NUJ members to the importance of local news is inspiring. They should be paid a decent wage for the vital work they do."
"My first job interview was for a trainee reporter post in Redditch. I spent five years on locals, learnt how important quality journalism is, and how much communities can gain from a decent local newspaper. I stand by your fight against Bullivant Media Ltd, a fight for jobs, pay, and quality journalism – local news matters!"
Tony Sheldon, NUJ NEC member for Europe and chair of the Netherlands NUJ
"Sending my support from The Irish Times chapel in Dublin."
Kitty Holland, Joint MOC, The Irish Times
"The NUJ Guardian and Observer chapel supports all striking workers at Bullivant media protesting against low pay and redundancy plans, and has donated £500 to support the cause. Exceptional journalism is a cornerstone of democracy, and local news needs all the support it can get if it is to thrive in these challenging times. Informative, interrogative reporting provides an invaluable framework for communities and this chapel stands behind you with full solidarity in your fight."
Gemma Davies, Herefordshire independent councillor
"I'm acting secretary of the Dublin Freelance branch of the NUJ, and I'm contacting you to express the support of our members, about 300 of us. We wish you well and hope for your success. Going on strike for what you believe in takes a great deal of courage, and being on strike can be lonely and difficult. Both take courage and determination. People naturally worry if they have done the right thing. Can I suggest from personal experience that you need to be kind to each other in this difficult time, and stay united under the NUJ banner. Be guided by your officials who are among the very best. And also, from personal experience, I can tell you, regardless of what happens today or tomorrow, nothing will be the same again. When you act together, the dynamic changes. You have asserted yourselves and there's be no going back on that. You have our wholehearted support and best wishes."
Kieran Fagan, NUJ life member, former NEC and Irish Council member and current secretary of Dublin Freelance Branch.
"Comrades, Full support for your dispute with Bullivant Media from Belfast area activist committee of Unite."
Kieran Molloy, chair, Unite Belfast area activist committee
"Solidarity to all on the picket line. As a former print worker and FoC I am with you."
Hi Sisters and Brothers, Solidarity with you in your strike, you are standing up for all union members."
Anton McCabe, NUJ NEC member and secretary of the Omagh Trades Union Council
"Dear brother/sister, Please pass on this message of solidarity to your striking NUJ members from Unite Bart's health branch. In solidarity"
Len Hockey, Unite branch secretary
"Good luck and solidarity to the Bullivant Media strike. We're all sick of our bosses attacking our conditions and jobs and compromising our ability to provide quality journalism to the communities where we live and work. I would also urge the NUJ to look at what joint action we could take in this dispute and at other workplaces facing job cuts.
Your fight is our fight. Best wishes from Sheffield newspapers NUJ chapel and South Yorkshire branch, who are sending you £100 donation."
Julia Armstrong, MoC at Sheffield newspapers and branch chair
"NUJ London magazine branch members send our solidarity to colleagues at Bullivant Media Chapel taking strike action against the threat of unnecessary compulsory redundancies. We urge Bullivant management to work with the chapel to find a way forward for the business that retains all staff and ensures safe and manageable workloads."
"I wonder if Buillivant Media realise the irony of the section on their website listing the company's philanthropic missions: '… it's important for us to make this world a better place.'"
"Thanks and congrats to the chapel for their action and principled arguments – with fond hopes that dealing with a family company like Bullivant, rather than some globalised behemoth, a fair resolution will be forthcoming."
"Solidarity with our local Redditch Journalists."
"Sending solidarity (and a small amount of cash) and wishing you all the luck in the world with your strike action. I was horrified to read about the conditions you have been forced to work in. You are doing the right thing by standing up for yourselves and your communities in the face of some disgraceful behaviour by your bosses. Stay strong, and may you never again have to picket in such dreadful weather."
"Fair play to you all. Hopefully the strike achieves a positive resolution for you and a recognition of your work and commitment to the service you provide for the community."
Cearbhall Ó Síocháin, NUJ Dublin broadcasting branch
"It's great that the fight goes on against the sharks still savaging local papers. We have recently been told that 265 have closed in the last 15 years, but still the owners are trying to wring money out of those that are left. As the big groups have pocketed huge profits, sacked their journalists and bled local papers till they couldn't bleed any more, smaller firms have moved in to scrape the last flesh from the bones. Local papers and websites shouldn't be owned by commercial companies any more. They should be run by local journalists or community groups to provide the vital news service that local people need. Lots of websites are, but they haven't got the resources to break into the market. Journalists are fighting for their jobs on these titles because they want to provide the service but not to slave endlessly for owners who pay starvation wages or none at all! The whole union should support the Bullivant journalists who are struggling for the survival of their trade. We are all behind them."
NUJ London freelance branch
"As secretary of NUJ Dublin branch I want you all to know that we are heartened to learn of your courageous protest against your employers and your strike action. Be assured that we will support your struggle. On behalf of Dublin Branch we wish you all well in the challenging times ahead."
"The Financial Times NUJ chapel branch sends its support and solidarity to journalists taking strike action at Bullivant Media. Local journalism is at the heart of our industry and we deplore the attacks on individual journalists, on standards and on your living conditions. We call on Bullivant management to pay the wages owed, to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies and to build a future for staff and company on the basis of quality journalism, not copied press releases. We applaud NUJ members' courage in taking this course by a unanimous vote and urge all trade unionists to back the action and support the strike fund."
"Solidarity with NUJ members forced to strike at Bullivant Media in the West Midlands after arbitrary salary deductions and late pay led to journalists reporting the news by day and taking second jobs in warehouses by night to make ends meet."
Councillor Alex Paterson
"Proud of journalists in my hometown."
"We must have a strong local press for a strong society. We are protected and monitored by journalists. If journalism is killed in a country, people living in that country will be vulnerable."
"Solidarity with sisters and brothers on the NUJ picket line."
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western writes a fortnightly column for the Leamington Observer and, instead of writing his column this week, he has contacted NUJ members to offer support for their strike. He said:
"In place of my normal column, I'm writing this message of support for all those on strike at the Leamington Observer this week. Staff have only been receiving part of their pay over the last few months, which is unacceptable. There are also plans for redundancies and non-editorial staff have been asked to take over editorial functions, which risks the integrity of the paper. It is vital to our democracy that we have a thriving local press.
"Therefore, I support the strike actions being taken. I urge Bullivant Media, who own Leamington Observer and a number of sister publications, to resolve this dispute with their employees in a fair way as soon as possible."
The NUJ chapel at Bullivant Media includes all 18 members of the editorial team and the company runs weekly free newspapers and websites with titles including the Coventry Observer, Leamington Observer, Rugby Observer, Stratford Observer, Solihull Observer, Redditch Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Worcester Observer and Evesham Observer.
NUJ members organised their second day of strike action today outside the Redditch Standard newspaper office and Bullivant Media Limited HQ as part of an ongoing dispute over jobs, pay and quality journalism.
Bullivant Media Limited NUJ chapel said:
"We have a simple request for the company – we want fair restructuring and consultation, and we want them to allow journalists in the editorial department to have control and oversight of editorial content, as is standard throughout the industry.
"We remain united and determined in our fight and we will continue to reach out to the company to resolve the dispute."