The robust campaign by students in the UK in defence of their future seems to have inspired many other workers. Journalists working in regional newspapers for Newsquest, UK arm of US publishing giant Gannett, have taken action to oppose pay freezes, attacks on pensions, job cuts and redundancies and bring the company to the negotiating table.
This week journalists in Brighton and Southampton went on strike, hoping that soon other colleagues on a myriad of other regional titles will be joining them. Union members at The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times (Scotland), Newsquest Bradford (Telegraph & Argus), Newsquest Blackburn (Lancashire Telegraph), Newsquest Bolton (Bolton News and the Bury Times Group), Newsquest York (The Press and the Gazette & Herald) and Newsquest Warrington (Warrington Guardian) have voted overwhelmingly for strike action, described as the biggest “union militancy in regional titles since the 1970s”.
The overwhelming results in the ballots in favour of action with further announcements still on the pipeline is a measure of the anger among journalists at Newsquest and their American owners continuing to chase bigger profits to the expense of quality. It is reported that during 2009, Newsquest cut more than 300 jobs reducing their workforce by 17%.
The recent remarks by Gannett’s finance that “Newsquest makes a lot of money” made journalists even more determined to fight. According to Gannett its UK operation made in 2009 a pre-tax profit of £88.5 million on turnover of £365.6 million.
For further information on the action in Brighton please go to http://brightonargus.blogspot.com