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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11907

Posted on 22 April 2011 at 21:38 GMT

Journalists in north London strike for more staff

Around one hundred people followed a funeral cortege complete with incense, a coffin and the grim reaper to mark the 'near death' of north London and Hertfordshire newspapers in the Tindle group.

Nine members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) began a series of two-day strikes on Tuesday 19 April, protesting at the failure to replace staff when they leave.

"Just three reporters are churning out nine newspapers every week" said the NUJ chapel father, Jonathan Lovett. "The current Tindle business plan threatens to let once award-winning newspapers dwindle and die".

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, spoke to pickets on the first day of the strike: "I've come here today to show support for our union members bravely standing up to say 'enough is enough' and that the communities they serve deserve better....

"If Sir Ray [Tindle] has the commitment he says he has to quality local journalism he should maintain staffing levels that allow journalists to do their job - we need more than lip service.

"Unfortunately some companies are seizing the economic crisis as an opportunity to make cutbacks, while making healthy profits - using the decline as an excuse.

"Everyone working or living in this local area knows what a valued role the newspapers play. Democracy will flounder without that role.

"These members are not just doing it for themselves they're doing it because they are passionate about quality journalism.

"Anyone is welcome to join the picket line and demonstrations and add their support."

As solidarity messages highlighted, many other papers face a slide in to 'churnalism' with reporters stuck in the office reproducing press handouts rather that going out to investigate.

On the eve of their action the Enfield Nine workers were issued letters warning that redundancies could be made in the near future but they say this has only galvanised them into fighting for the future of their papers.

The strikers and supporters marched from the papers' offices to the centre of Enfield on Wednesday 20 April at lunchtime. Speakers included anti-cuts campaigners and members of the community who spoke of the need to know what is happening in their community.

More information is available at:
http://strikegazadpres.wordpress.com/
Messages of support to:
email: strikegazadpres@hotmail.co.uk

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