Short on resources but big on ideas, the Enfield Nine have struck a first blow for quality journalism this week.
In fact, it is a byproduct of being woefully understaffed that we have been able to mount such a moving and meaningful campaign with such a quick turnaround.
Our staff have dwindled from 18 to nine as members of our team have been forced to move on by concerns over job security, pay and prospects without any of these valued colleagues being replaced. This, if you prefer the sinister term used by management presiding over the country’s troubled workforce, is “natural wastage”.
It is a wasted opportunity on management’s part not to realise the value of its employees.
Most of the people we have encountered since the strike began – whether they be honking truckers, curious passers-by, militant union comrades or sympathetic readers – have supported our plight. We are bowled over by this support and thank you all. However, it is the occasional aggressive commentator who represents those we must try to reach. The man on the street who spits “you’re lucky to have jobs” when offered a leaflet. The indoctrinated staff who tell us we are doing this “for a laugh” or to bring down the newspapers. The Tindle top brass who condemn our strike action, citing losses and cost-cutting as the logical precursor for a short-sighted policy of non-replacement.
We want to counter these and point out that not to invest in the bare minimum of staff is a false economy. No logical business model knowingly degrades the quality of its product. But without more staff (one would be a huge help), our talented but strained reporters are unable to do their jobs properly. Fewer distribution rounds and editorial staff are not routes to entice hordes of advertisers.
When Sir Ray Tindle bought this award-winning newspaper group before the downturn, he spoke warmly about the excellent editorial clout these titles offered. The economy turned and we have watched in dismay as the losses have been compounded by damaging cuts.
The Enfield Nine have suggested numerous ideas to increase revenue which have been ignored.
This strike comes at the end of a very long mission to negotiate a solution. Please, Sir Ray, understand that we have the same objective in mind and give us one more reporter to end this dispute. We so want to prove everyone else wrong and bounce back from this together.