TO paraphrase Henry Ford, our owners like giving us news of, “any colour… so long as it’s black”.
Having returned to work after two high-profile weeks of strike action we received three weeks of silence from management and then… an announcement that all our freelance budget was going to be cut! Unbelievable.
So, not only is Tindle intent on a suicidal mission of non-replacement of staff, but he has now decided to strip away the entire support team which we rely on to get these papers out. It’s as though a football team has been told they can only play with half their players and then the owner takes their boots away. It means no more photographers to help the two full-timers over weekends or on evening jobs, no more freelance sub-editors who help out our couple of staff members sub the vast amount of copy, no more journalists who fill in and help write the many articles when a couple of the reporters are away on holiday.
It has added insult to injury and is a real kick in the teeth for an already demoralised workforce.
What’s more, one of our senior reporters has today handed in her notice after finding employment elsewhere, and there is zero guarantee that she will be replaced – meaning it could potentially be just two reporters churning out a grand total of nine newspapers. (Management, as always, is refusing to say whether her position will be filled or not – we dread the later).
And so we are balloting again for further industrial action in the hope that Ray Tindle will finally come to his senses and allow us to wake from this particularly gruesome nightmare. We hope he will finally realise you cannot provide quality newspapers for north London with a skeleton staff that is being constantly eroded. All we want are the journalists to do the job, so our readers can benefit from proper, campaigning papers at the heart of the community.
We are angry we have been forced into this situation, yet again, but want to send out a clear, direct message that this is utterly unacceptable and the battle is still ongoing.