Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has written letters and posted comments on this blog. Your support is testament to our cause and further proof that we are right and management are wrong!
This dispute has been running for more than a year now, and none of us would have expected things to deteriorate so rapidly. We were a newsroom of 18, that has now been reduced to nine, and as each member has departed, we have all been left scratching our heads and asking….how few of us will be left before another is hired?
You may have heard that three reporters are now producing nine newspapers, which is a worrying statistic alone, but little has been mentioned of losses in other departments. I’m a photographer and last year our desk was reduced from three to two (natural wastage apparently). We are now working “mobile” (from our cars), using personal laptops and various other bits and bobs to ensure that the workload can be covered, all at our own expense. This completely necessary change was forwarded to management, whom instead of supplying the necessary funds and resources to implement the change, issued yet another statement of woe, detailing the company’s hardship in troubling times. Whilst agreeing that my chief photographer and myself would have to make changes, they refused to support the move, so yet again journalists are left out of pocket, in an attempt to maintain quality and standards. Then there are the uncompensated evening hours that everyone in editorial are required to work.
It’s a credit to our profession that journalists everywhere work long hours additional to their contracts, largely to uphold standards and quality output. I hope our strike action will raise awareness of a dwindling press as a whole and encourage fellow journalists to fight for better journalism. After all, none of us chose this profession for money, so if the quality of your publication isn’t worth fighting for, what is?