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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2016

Newsquest strike: Bosses realise 'contraints' of scab labour

'Contraints' - misspelt headline due to strike photo Mark Lotinga/Twitter

'Contraints' - misspelt headline due to strike photo Mark Lotinga/Twitter   (Click to enlarge)

William Jarrett, Newcastle Socialist Party

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members at local daily papers published by Newsquest in the south of England have taken five days of industrial action against the company, beginning on 13 October. The source of the dispute is cuts to staffing, which have already prompted seven reporters to resign.

This follows office closures at two papers, cuts to editor numbers, and the slashing of an entire commercial features team. The impact is noticeable, with scab reporters copying sports press releases virtually word-for-word and front page headlines boasting embarrassing spelling and grammar errors.

Newsquest is a major UK media firm, with 5,500 employees, and enhanced its profits by 15% last year to a total of 82.5 million.

Newsquest is a subsidiary of Gannett, a US media firm, which has a dark history of strong-arm industrial tactics, including sometimes-violent strike-breaking attacks on writers' and printers' guilds which would make even a Wapping-era Rupert Murdoch blush.

In keeping with that industrial tradition, Newsquest management, led by hard-headed CEO Henry Faure Walker, refused to consult staff about these cuts. Management's tactics backfired however. With Acas talks exhausted, on 17 October members voted for a further five days of all-out strike action.

A Newsquest south London chapel spokesperson told me: "The company's repeated cuts are going to cripple true local journalism not only here but across the country. Profits boosted by cutting experienced and committed staff are shipped to Gannett in the US, meaning oversight of public officials and politicians is basically subject to that conglomerate's whim."

The Socialist Party stands in total solidarity with the NUJ and its striking members at Newsquest.

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In The Socialist 19 October 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS at breaking Point

Teachers working 60 hours need strikes, not studies

Elderly care at crisis point

Health campaigns demonstrate together in 'one fight'

NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'

Them & Us


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TUSC discusses new tasks after Corbyn victory


Workplace news and analysis

Sheffield bin striker slams privatised refuse bosses

Newsquest strike: Bosses realise 'contraints' of scab labour

London Underground cleaners protest pay cut

Support the 'Kinsley 3' cleaners in pay fight


International socialist news and analysis

Syria: horror deepens in Aleppo


Socialist history

Aberfan: a disaster that should never have happened

Suez 1956: the decline of British imperialism and rise of the colonial revolution


Black History Month

The radical life of Paul Robeson


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Butterfields housing victory: "We showed that if you stick together and fight you can win"

Come to Socialism 2016

Can you donate to the Socialism 2016 appeal?

Cheshire and Merseyside: Huge NHS cuts and privatisation planned

Devon: Campaigning against community hospitals closures

Bristol: Millions of pounds of "horrifically unpalatable" cuts


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Moving, funny and inspiring tribute to working class heroism

Film review: Deepwater Horizon

Review: BBC2's Poetry Night

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

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