Possible further industrial action at Newsquest Cumbria
NUJ MEMBERS working at Newsquest titles in Cumbria held a one-day strike on 20 December over a pay freeze, staffing cuts and the company's attitude to journalistic standards and quality. There was an 85 per cent turn-out for the ballot, with a unanimous vote for strike action. There was widespread support for the strikers from MPs, local councillors, readers and trade unionists.
Newsquest titles where workers went on strike were the Cumberland News, the Carlisle News and Star, the Workington Times and Star and the Whitehaven News. While no further notice has yet been given for industrial action at these titles, those who work shifts for them may like to watch this space and the NUJ website and Twitter feed for announcements of future strike dates at which they may suddenly find themselves not available. Those freelances who suffer hardship as a result of finding themselves suddenly unavailable for shifts during a strike should approach the Chapel hardship fund (see below.)
NUJ Manchester's account is the hardship fund for already dismally paid strikers who lost a day's pay as a result of their action. Some Newsquest apprentices are on as little as £7000 a year, according to the Guardian. The hardship fund is still open and seeking donations - account details are linked from the NUJ's report here. (Watch for a motion on this at the LFB meeting on 14 January.)
Staff at the Cumberland News subsequently reported their own newspaper to press regulator IPSO, the first such complaint to IPSO by workers about the newspaper where they work. The complaint, in the name of NUJ Ethics Council chair Chris Frost, centred on a short Cumberland News article that reported the views of Newsquest management but made no attempt to put the views of the strikers or the NUJ.