Tomorrow… at 8.30am… nine, passionate and committed journalists will begin the first strike in our company’s history.
This is not of our asking. Strike action should always be a last resort and we certainly did not want this fight. We will not be paid for any of the days we will be going out and we will be losing a considerable amount of money by doing so.
We certainly did everything we could to avoid this showdown. For nearly a year now we have been in negotiations with management over the situation here in Enfield. From a high point of seven reporters and two news editors a few years ago we now just have three reporters and one news editor covering a vast area of north London and part of Hertfordshire. We simply do not have the resources to carry on the way we are and there is no guarantee that if anyone else leaves they will be replaced either. What will it take before the company reverses its policy of non-replacement? If just one reporter is left… or none?!
Anyway, at the end, we would have accepted so little to not go out on strike. A reporter on a contract of, say 12 months, would have done the job to help us with our ever spiralling workload. But… no. Management said they would give us nothing… zero… zilch… nada.
Nothing after nearly a year of negotiations and with our reporting team on the verge of meltdown thanks to all those late nights and weekends working hard to provide the necessary mass of words to fill nine newspapers. Quantity not quality seems to be the concern of our owner, Sir Ray Tindle, and frankly we believe our readers deserve better.
My father always told me you have two options in life – either stand-up for yourself or be downtrodden. At 8.30am tomorrow morning the Enfield Nine will stand-up for themselves and go on strike for two weeks because we have had enough of being downtrodden. We want to regain our self-respect.
So we hope you can join us and show your support or write to our proprietor and urge him to give us the resources to do our job – and give our readers a paper to once again be proud of.
To quote another late, great favourite of mine, the Bard of North London, Ian Dury: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight… it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Father of the Chapel, North London & Herts Newspapers