Sunday, 17 April 2011

Support the Tindle newspapers strikers!

I know not everyone likes the Barnet Press (or any of the local papers) but I think we would all agree that we are better off having a local paper than not! In fact, I think the Barnet Press have done a good job lately of covering and even investigating local issues, including Future Shape, the move to get rid of sheltered housing wardens, and now the MetPro affair.

One thing that's certain is that the fewer journalists you have gathering news, the worse the newspaper! That is what has been happening at Barnet Press, whose journalists are going on strike for two weeks from Tuesday 19 April. Let's be clear, that's a long time to be out on strike. If you want to campaign for good local newspapers I would ask you to support the strike, which is against non-filling of vacant posts.

I plan to go and visit the strikers at their office on Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, I can't do better to let you know what it's all about than reprint the journalists' press release, and ask you to support them in the ways they suggest at the end.
Staff at North London & Herts Newspapers say “enough is enough” in the first strike in Tindle Newspapers’ history

From Tuesday, April 19, journalists at the north London newspaper group will go on strike over the Tindle business plan that is leaving once award-winning newspapers to dwindle and die.

Bad for staff…

The company is refusing to replace members of staff when they leave, while expecting increased output from its already overworked employees – seemingly with no viable strategy to revive the newspapers’ fortunes.

Owner Sir Ray Tindle has claimed to be the “Saviour of local newspapers” and recently said: “Despite the doom-mongers regional newspapers are alive and well...”

Not in north London – here they suffer death by a thousand cutbacks. The company says our centre has to cut costs, but last year our employer Tindle Newspapers made more than £3million profit.

• More than a third of editorial staff have left without being replaced and key positions are not being filled.

• Just three reporters are churning out nine newspapers every week.

• In the past few weeks management has slashed the Sports section by half while the future of the entire Arts & Leisure section is under threat.

Bad for the community…

As a consequence of its refusal to replace staff an inferior product is being delivered to our readers and, therefore, our advertisers:

• Reporters do not have time to leave their desks, meaning they are missing stories of vital importance.

• We are unable to cover a range of council meetings, attend community events, court cases and inquiries and report them to the public.

• This leads to a failure to uphold the newspapers’ fine tradition of holding public bodies to account and the worst kind of “churnalism”.

Showing support

• NUJ members will be outside their offices in Refuge House, 9-10 River Front, Enfield, EN1 3SZ (just across from Enfield Town railway station) from Tuesday to Thursday over the next two weeks.

• Photo opportunity: Wednesday, April 20 from noon when a mass demonstration will take place featuring The Grim Reaper and a funeral procession.

• North London & Herts Newspapers comprises: The Enfield Advertiser, The Edmonton Advertiser, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser & Herald, The Enfield Gazette, The Barnet & Potters Bar Press, The East Barnet Press & Advertiser, The Edgware & Mill Hill Press, The Hendon & Finchley Press and The Haringey Advertiser.

• For more information call FOC Jonathan Lovett on 07917 871 421 or Barry Fitzpatrick on 020 7843 3706.

• To find out more:
Search Facebook for "Gazette, Advertiser and Press on Strike"
Twitter: @StrikeGazAdPres


baarnett said...

I agree it is much better to have this local paper to sometimes criticise, than not have one at all.

Mind you, the editorials have often been very good - they have dispaired at the quality of the "leadership" of Barnet, and particularly the lack of proper consultation on anything.

David Duff said...

So, the paper enjoys a £3 million profit.

But the 'workers' are going on strike which will reduce it considerably.

When there is no profit, the boss will close it.

All the 'workers' will become non-'workers'.

Question: will we spot the difference?

baarnett said...

DD: But wouldn't we prefer to see some sort of fight-back, rather than the paper to go gentle into that good night.

More likely the Press would just be an advertising free-sheet, with no editorial.

David Duff said...

Alas, 'Baarnett', it is not for us to take a view, it is all down to Lord Gradgrind, or whatever his name is, because he will decide whether he prefers to slog on producing this rag whilst a bunch of idle, layabout Bolshies bugger it up, or just close it down and spend the rest of his life in the Bahamas? I know what I would do!

Mrs David Duff said...

Sad to say my beloved DD lacks the talent or wit to ever earn enough to emigrate to the Bahamas. In fact he lacks the talent to do anything useful at all. Hopefully he'll soon pop his clogs and I can spend the dosh from the insurance policy on a holiday there myself. I need it

Citizen Barnet said...

Dear "Mrs David Duff",

I should introduce you to "Brian Coleman's mum". You could commiserate.