The National Union of Journalists has reported that the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Dumisani Sibanda was released from detention late last night.
Yesterday the union reported that Sibanda, the bureau chief for the Standard and Newsday, was arrested in relation to an article he wrote about the police force.
Following his release last night it was also reported that another journalist from the Standard, Nqobani Ndlovu, had also been arrested and detained.
In a statement Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ’s deputy general secretary said the situation is “deeply worrying”.
The NUJ has worked closely with Dumisani Sibanda and we are pleased he has been released. But the news of the arrest of his colleague Nqobani Ndlovu demonstrates the serious pressure journalists in Zimbabwe are once again under.
National Union of Journalists members across a series of Newsquest-owned north-east titles have started to ballot for industrial action against proposed redundancies and a continuing pay freeze, according to a report from the union.
Members at Newsquest Northeast, which includes The Darlington and Stockton Times, Durham Times and the Advertiser series, have also unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in the chief executives of Newsquest and Newsquest’s US parent company Gannett.
In the NUJ release, the union’s Northern and Midlands organiser, Chris Morley said the proposed loss of eight jobs in the region is the “final straw” for staff:
The proposed redundancies spell disaster for the titles. It is a short-sighted policy that will result in lower quality and readership declining, as editorial staff are stretched ever more thinly.
Staff are shocked at Newsquest’s preparedness to jettison so many of their most valuable assets – experienced, dedicated staff who have been responsible for the success of the titles. We are not prepared to stand by and allow Newsquest to press ahead with their plans for staff redundancies and, ultimately, business suicide.
Tomorrow NUJ members at the Brighton Argus, also part of the Newquest group, will start a two-day strike in response to job losses at the title and the relocation of its subbing operation to Southampton.
The National Union of Journalists says it is prepared to suspend the second 48-hour BBC strike it has planned for 15 and 16 November, after the broadcaster offered new talks in the ongoing pensions dispute.
Jeremy Dear, the NUJ’s general secretary said the union welcomes “the BBC’s change of heart”.
We will enter those talks determined to seek a negotiated settlement. But we remain committed, and authorised, to take further industrial, political and legal action in the event that talks fail to deliver a fair pensions settlement.
In a statement Lucy Adams, director of BBC People said she also welcomes the NUJ’s decision to “lift the threat of strikes”.
This is good news for the licence fee payer. While the BBC cannot afford to reopen the pension reform deal agreed with the majority of staff, we have agreed to meet with the joint unions, including the NUJ. In that meeting, we will discuss points of clarification raised in a letter this afternoon from Gerry Morrissey, General Secretary of BECTU and the leader of the joint unions at the BBC.
Leading activists from the media and entertainment union Bectu have decided to leave and instead apply to join the National Union of Journalists so they can take part in planned strike action at the BBC over pensions, according to the Workers United trade union blog.
The four – until today members of the BECTU audio and music branch committee – explained their decision to colleagues across the corporation in a 1,500 word email.
Journalism.co.uk reported last week that members at BBC staff unions, except for the NUJ, had voted as a majority to accept the latest proposals. The NUJ’s members however voted to reject the proposals and as a result fresh strike dates were set. The first 48-hour walkout is due to start on Friday.
As the new ballot on BBC pensions continues this week staff unions will be holding meetings to allow members of Bectu, the NUJ and Unite to put further questions to union officials.
The first takes place today (Tuesday 19 October) from 1pm to 2pm at the Think Tank, at the BBC’s Media Centre in White City and the second is scheduled for tomorrow, also from 1pm to 2pm, this time in the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, Bectu reported this week.
Last week union members voted in rejection of new proposals put forward by the BBC earlier this month and the union said it will now “press ahead” with its plans, while maintaining negotiations.
The NUJ and BECTU have published a Q&A for members about the strikes. In their responses they say that, “in the absence of a significant new offer from the BBC”, strike action will commence at 00.01am on 5 October and end at 23.59pm on 6 October, which will coincide with the Conservative Party conference.
A final decision on strike action is expected to be announced on Friday.
Atangana came to the UK claiming he had been detained and tortured in Cameroon. Following the refusal of his asylum claim, the NUJ called on its members to write in protest to their local MPs and now also urges journalists and other trade union members to join in a demonstration outside the High Court on The Strand in London on Thursday next week.
Last month Journalism.co.uk went to meet Charles at the NUJ offices in London:
National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members at Newsquest submitted this year’s pay claim yesterday and asked for a 5 to 8 per cent rise, according to the union.
The union is concerned that an ongoing pay freeze at the publisher combined with increases in the cost of living and new contracts offered by the group that rule out annual pay reviews will establish low pay as part of a journalist’s job, regardless of company profit levels.
BBC staff unions are expected to announce the result of a ballot for strike action later today, following pension proposals put forward by the broadcaster in June which could see the introduction of a one per cent cap on increases in pensionable salary and the closure of the final-salary scheme to new joiners.
In a blog post, NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear says the union expects the results to show “a massive vote in favour of action”.