Solidarity Magazine » NUJ Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Support NUJ members on strike today Thu, 09 Dec 2010 12:22:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> NUJ members at the Newsquest-owned Southern Daily Echo in Southampton and The Argus in Brighton are on strike today.

NUJ members at Newsquest have been forced to take action as a result of wide spread attacks on jobs, pensions and an on-going imposed three year pay freeze.

Newsquest continues to generate huge profits and the latest accounts for parent company Gannett UK show that the highest paid director enjoyed a £108,000 hike in his overall pay to £609,235 last year.

Excessive payments for senior managers expose the corporate greed doing so much damage to Newsquest papers and websites.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary said:

“There is a real determination amongst members to work together to put collective pressure on the company. NUJ members at Newsquest have the entire union supporting them in the fight to put journalism before profit. Our strength is in our support for each other as trade union members”

NUJ members have taken strike action at a number of Newsquest sites across the UK and this campaign shows the determination of NUJ members at Newsquest to oppose pay freezes, attacks on pensions and job cuts.

We are taking a stand to defend quality local journalism and we hope you will support us.

How you can help -

Brighton blog –

Southampton –

To donate to the campaign, please send a cheque payable to the NUJ with a note marked that the money is for the Newsquest strike, to NUJ Finance Department, Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.

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NUJ members continue to step up the industrial action campaign at Newsquest Sun, 05 Dec 2010 13:11:52 +0000 Continue reading ]]> NUJ members at Newsquest Darlington have voted strongly in favour of strike action, as the dispute with the company escalates across the UK.

78% of NUJ members in Darlington voted for strike action and 85% voted for action short of a strike.

Adding to the building campaign, NUJ members at Newsquest Hampshire in Andover will also ballot for action.

Further ballots are planned in York, Bradford, Bolton and Blackburn.

The strong result in favour of action in Darlington coupled with the ballot for action in Hampshire demonstrates the determination of NUJ members at Newsquest to stand together to oppose pay freezes, attacks on pensions and ruinous job cuts.

Newsquest is now facing strikes at three major locations.

Members in Southampton and Brighton took 48-hour strike action earlier this month and have given notice of a further co-ordinated 2-day stoppage on Tuesday 7 December and Wednesday 8 December 2010.

The NUJ National Executive Council will spearhead a national campaign around the situation at Newsquest and in full support of members taking action.

The action at Newsquest is a result of wide spread attacks on journalists working for the company.

Journalists at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Ilkley Gazette, Wharfedale & Airedale Observer and the Keighley News are facing the sack and the humiliation of having to apply for replacement jobs, on far worse terms and conditions, following parent company Newsquest’s announcement that they intend to sack 18 journalists and create 16 new posts in their place.

Journalists at Newsquest’s Blackburn centre have endured a 2-year pay freeze and management have failed to commit to pay talks for 2011.

NUJ members at Newsquest Northeast – one of Newsquest’s regional operations, drawing together a range of titles, including The Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times, Durham Times and the Advertiser series are protesting against proposed redundancies and a continuing pay freeze.

Newsquest has also announced the closure of the final salary pension scheme.

The NUJ has co-ordinated a rolling programme of action at Newsquest which shows the strength of feeling amongst NUJ members.

The attacks on quality journalism continue despite the company generating huge profits.

The latest accounts for parent company Gannett UK show that the highest paid director enjoyed a massive £108,000 – or 21.5 per cent – hike in his overall pay to £609,235. In addition, he managed to secure a huge boost in pension contributions from £38,500 in 2008 to £95,000 last year – a 59 per cent increase.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary who is heading up the union’s campaign said:

NUJ members at Newsquest are standing up for journalists and journalism. They are fighting the corporate greed which is doing so much damage to their papers and websites and they have the full support of the union.

There has been a magnificent campaign by our members at Newsquest to resist the attacks on jobs, pay, pensions and quality journalism. There is a real determination amongst members to work together to put collective pressure on the company. NUJ members at Newsquest have the entire union supporting them in the fight to put journalism before profit. Our strength is in our support for each other as trade union members and I’m pleased the NEC has agreed the union will prioritise this campaign.”

Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands Organiser, said:

“The overwhelming vote by our members at Darlington gives the strongest possible signal to the company that enough is enough and that there is a determined mood to prevent the company committing more vandalism to their great newspapers and associated websites.

It is no coincidence that Newsquest is now facing strikes at three major locations with a whole string of NUJ chapels at other centres queueing up to be balloted for strike action. Our members do not want to have to take industrial action but the company’s arrogance and gross insensitivity gives them no alternative in doing all they can to defend their standard of living, their jobs and ultimately their profession. It is not too late for senior managers to pull away from the ruinous path they are taking the company and instead enter into real, meaningful discussions with the NUJ at all levels to find a solution in the best interests of all.”

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BBC pensions strike – Live updates Fri, 05 Nov 2010 09:41:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Journalists across the BBC walked out at midnight in the first of two 48 hours strikes in protest at plans to devalue their pensions.

NUJ members at the BBC started taking part in strike action at 12.01am on Friday 5 November 2010 for the next 48 hours to stop the BBC Pensions Robbery.

NUJ members have been working and paying into a pension scheme, the BBC have proposed ripping up the current pension arrangements and replacing them with a pension scheme that will see staff paying more in contributions and working longer and getting less in retirement.

As a result, NUJ members have been left with no choice but to strike to defend their financial futures.

We’ve already been overwhelmed by the support for the campaign so far from staff at the BBC and not just NUJ members. Colleagues in Bectu have inundated us with messages of support, with many refusing to cross picket lines to get into work. It’s clear that staff right across the BBC are keen for us to win – as it would mean a better pensions deal for all.



  • BBC HP chief, Lucy Adams on Radio 5, claiming “There is no more money on the table” “Other unions have accepted that.”

Response from NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear:
“Lucy Adams’ claims that the BBC must take this action now are completely false. Neither she nor the BBC know the real size of deficit is. What BBC management do know is that when the pension fund valuation is published next year, the defecit is likely to be shown to be far smaller than the £2bn figure they currently claim and the rationale for the changes they propose will be shot to pieces.

As far as her claim that other unions have accepted that there is no more money, not only is that false, but our sister union, Bectu, have warned the BBC that should the defecit be shown to be below £1.5bn, they will ballot their members for industrial action!”


- 95 per cent of world service newsroom out on strike

  • Many Bectu members not in work

For live updates go to:

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Activists swap unions to join BBC pensions strike Wed, 03 Nov 2010 15:26:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Four leading BECTU activists at the BBC have quit the general broadcasting union and applied to join the National Union of Journalists – so they can take part in this week’s strike over pensions.

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.

David Gallagher, who was joint branch secretary, Joti Brar, Tim Clarke, and Ben Toone have jumped ship because BECTU – the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematgrahp, and Theatre, Union – are not taking part in the pensions strike after members voted to accept the deal.

Their email says: “The pensions issue is the most shocking and unreasonable assault ever made by BBC management on their staff.”

Because: “The current proposals mean a huge and unacceptable cut to the pensions of existing scheme members, and the imposition of inadequate stock market-dependent pensions for all future staff.”

The message to BECTU members says: “The BECTU leadership have effectively thrown in the towel and seem happy to let BBC management get away with their heist.”
It goes on: “Without explictly campaigning for members to vote ‘yes’, they did everything in their power to push members in that direction.”

The four say: “The Bridlington agreement (by which trade unions agree not to poach each others’ members) means we can’t encourage you to leave one union and join another. But we can at least explain the reasons why we’re doing so.”

The former BECTU committee members have invited their colleagues to attend “drop-in advice sessions” this week at two London BBC buildings – Bush House and Henry Wood House.

They apologise to any BECTU members who feel let down by their decision but say: “The anti-trade union laws make it very hard for BECTU members to support striking NUJ members. The only way we can make a real difference is by joining the NUJ and taking full part in their industrial action. “

Both unions agreed to ballot members on the latest BBC pension proposals without a recommendation.

But – as first reported on The Workers United – leading NUJ members supported a rank-and-file campaign for a no vote.

The NUJ strike is on Friday and Saturday.

From Workers United, a Red pepper blog

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BBC pension offer: union reps call for ‘NO’ vote in ballot Fri, 15 Oct 2010 16:38:59 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

This is the text of a leaflet put out by union reps at the BBC calling for a “NO” vote to the latest pension offer (From NUJ Left)

14 October 2010

The BBC Pensions Robbery: It’s our decision now…

We are a cross-section of union reps from across the BBC and we think you should vote ‘No’ in the consultative ballot on the BBC’s CAB 2011 pension plans.

We believe the BBC unions were right to suspend the strikes earlier this month. It has given all of us a chance to see the progress, which our negotiators have made, but it has also allowed BBC staff to scrutinise what is on offer. It is not fair and it is not acceptable. BBC staff have the right to demand that Mark Thompson offers them a pension which will allow them a decent, secure standard of living in retirement.

That’s what we were promised. So far, none of his alternatives to scrapping the Final Salary Pension Scheme gives us that.

You should vote ‘NO’ because…

CAB 2011 means staff will be expected to pay more, to work longer and get less back for their retirement. The BBC has refused to consider the unions’ calls to protect our pensions against rising costs of living in the future. You risk losing more than 20% of your pension to inflation under the current plan. The BBC’s “final” offer was no such thing. Negotiations are still going on and management have continued to amend key elements of their proposals. BBC staff are not demanding “featherbedding” or “gold-plated” pensions. The current average pension for BBC staff is £12,500.

That’s somewhere between the pension of a fire-fighter and a police officer. We trust our negotiators to try to secure the best they can for us. We no longer trust the BBC senior executives who have told each other they think staff “will fall for it” when they tell us they have made their final offer.

Don’t be scared to vote ‘NO’

If you vote “yes” in the consultative ballot, you are saying the BBC plans are acceptable. A strong “No” vote puts BBC staff back in the driving seat. It means we are telling our negotiators and telling Mark Thompson that CAB 2011 is not fair, it is not acceptable and we will go on strike if the BBC does not give us what we were promised – a pension that is secure into the future and is valuable for younger people with a life of work ahead of them.

Peter Murray, Glasgow Chapel, NUJ President; Tory Blair, BBC London Branch,
NUJ Secondee; Ian Pollock, BBC London Branch, former Pensions Trustee; Bríd
Fitzpatrick, Newcastle; Paul Mason, Newsnight, Zarghuna Kargar, Afghan Service,
Paula Dear, News Interactive, Simon Vaughan, Westminster; Michael Workman,
World Service News; Julie Clayton, Cumbria; Jeremy Aspinall, BBC Worldwide;
David Eyre, Glasgow/Edinburgh; Becky Brandford, BBC Ineractive,;Jonathan
Brunert, Panorama/White City; Andy Comfort, Hull; David Campanale, World TV;
Dimitry Linnik, Russian service; Jane Anderson, Worldwide; Lesley Taylor, Radio
Newsroom; Jon Kelly, News Interactive

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BBC staff deliver massive mandate for action on pensions Wed, 01 Sep 2010 20:06:11 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The joint unions, BECTU, the NUJ and Unite have today welcomed the overwhelming backing of union members in the BBC for the unions’ campaign against drastic cuts to staff pensions.

In ballots calling for strike action which closed at lunchtime today (Wednesday 1 September) more than 90 per cent of the unions’ members supported calls both for strike action and for action short of strike in opposition to what has been described as a “pensions robbery”.

Commenting on the ballot of NUJ members, general secretary, Jeremy Dear said:

“The massive scale of this vote is unprecedented – it is a reflection of the wave of anger and sense of betrayal which has greeted the BBC’s attempted pensions robbery. BBC management have an opportunity to avoid deeply damaging strike action by guaranteeing the value of pensions already earned and withdrawing their punitive and draconian proposals.”

Commenting on the BECTU ballot result, Gerry Morrissey, general secretary said:

“Today’s massive ballot result confirms the extent of staff anger over the BBC’s plans; we clearly have a resounding mandate for strike action to challenge the BBC on its plans to break its pensions agreement with staff.”

Commenting on the Unite result, Peter Skyte, national officer said:

“Our members have decisively demonstrated their opposition to the BBC’s pensions and pay proposals. The BBC needs to think again about stealing pension benefits already earned and retaining a defined benefit pension scheme in order to regain the trust and support of its workforce for the challenging times that face the organisation in the future.”

Joint union representatives from the across the country met in London this afternoon to consider the ballot results and to receive a briefing on the talks which continued with BBC management during August. As a result of today’s briefing, union representatives have decided that those talks should continue until mid-September when the BBC has said it will table alternative proposals. Any announcement on strike dates will be deferred until that time.

The BBC’s plan to place a 1% cap on future pension increases continues to cause outrage amongst BBC staff.


BBC staff

Question 1

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

YES: 2,107 (93.6% of valid vote)

NO: 143 (6.4% of valid vote)

Invalid ballot papers:1

Turnout: 2,250

Question 2

Are you prepared to take action short of a strike?

YES:  2,175 (97.2% of valid vote)

NO: 62 (2.8% of valid vote)

Invalid ballot papers:14

Turnout: 2,237

BBC Worldwide staff

Question 1

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

YES: 22 (88% of valid vote)

NO: 3 (12% of valid vote)

Turnout: 25

Question 2

Are you prepared to take action short of a strike?

YES: 24 (96% of valid vote)

NO: 1 (4% of valid vote)

Turnout: 25

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Defending Thai journalists against Tesco Tue, 22 Apr 2008 20:00:36 +0000 Continue reading ]]>  

On his blog ( ) Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary reports of Tesco’s attempt to silence two Thai journalists who have been investigating their business practices. They are suing them for “defamation” for $33 million. They are also suing the Guardian. The NUJ is calling on trades unionists and supporters of freedom of expression to send a message to Tesco’s Chief Executive. Go to:

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