NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said in an email to all members yesterday that “doing nothing is not an option” – and she asked members to encourage colleagues to join the union.
She said: “If no action is taken the union would face insolvency and the consequential prospect of a merger as soon as later this year.
“We have been here before, and the way out is by acting together in the collective interests of the union we are all passionate about.”
Journalist Leah Borromeo said the NUJ’s problems would not be solved through recruitment alone and that a merger with broadcasting union Bectu would reflect convergence in the wider media industry. Back in 2008, the NUJ looked at leaving its Headland House headquarters in London and sharing with Bectu, but nothing came of it.
@donnachadelong thinkin abt it deeper, NUJ BECTU etc shd’ve merged yrs ago 2 form Media Union. this won’t be solved thru recruitment alone.
Trinity Mirror’s acquisition of Guardian Media Group’s regional businesses, including Manchester Evening News publisher MEN Media, and plans to relocate MEN Media staff to Oldham has stirred mass discussion amongst media commentators online. Below are links breaking down the fundamental aspects of the story:
Holdthefrontpage.co.uk has a statement from Bethan Dorsett, organiser of the NUJ chapel at MEN Media Weeklies, and Judith Gordon, director of the MEN chapel, describing their concerns for MEN staff.
The Drum covers the various reactions produced by the deal, questioning whether Trinity got a good deal or gained a dying media group, including comments from analyst Jim Chisholm, who told the Drum it was “a great deal for Trinity Mirror” though “not such a great reflection of the way the regional print industry is today viewed”.
On Press Gazette, the financial benefits of the deal to GMG and Trinity Mirror – pointing towards the FT’s analysis of the sale, which considers the issue of consolidation, but comes down in favour of TM saying it was a bargain for the group.
As reported on Journalism.co.uk in August, Northern & Shell, owners of Express Newspapers and OK! magazine, announced plans to make 70 journalists at its newspaper titles – Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Sunday Star – redundant.
Now the company has reduced the overall number of cuts at the newspapers from 90 to 75. This means the number of journalism jobs cut would be reduced from 70 to between 52 and 57 – a figure reported by the Guardian and confirmed to Journalism.co.uk by the National Union of Journalists.
“The reduction in job cuts was only announced after the NUJ had warned the company that they were not following the right procedure,” said Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary.
Stanistreet, a former Express Newspapers union representative, attended talks with the company this week.
“While we welcome the reduced numbers we still don’t know how the papers can be produced with the few people who will be left. We want to see some proper plans and we want guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies.”
Last year’s cutbacks included the introduction of a new working week pattern for sub-editing staff at the paper and a production system, which would allow some staff to write directly onto page templates without the need for sub-editors.
Journalists at the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star are to undertake a series of 24-hour strikes over pay.
Strike action – scheduled for April 3, 10 and 17 – was approved at a National Union of Journalists (NUJ) meeting last night and is a reaction to ‘a below inflation pay offer’ – 3 per cent – made by the papers’ management to staff.
A statement from the NUJ also expressed concerns over owner Richard Desmond’s involvement with editorial decision making at the titles.
“We want the editors to be left to edit, free from commercial interference that puts opportunities to boost circulation ahead of journalistic integrity. Our titles need real investment, instead we face continuous rounds of budget cuts and inadequate staffing levels. Now we’re being told to take a below inflation pay offer and be grateful we’re not facing more redundancies this year – we’ve simply had enough,” said Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ President and union representative at the Express.