The chapel is also very concerned because the company is talking about 'no loss of head count', when most of the vacancies that are potentially open for staff to redeploy to are in fact held by freelances who are employed on month-to-month contracts. The chapel has been campaigning for many months now for the company to offer all freelances a permanent contract. Two of the freelances are trainees doing their NCE qualification, which is a doubly disgraceful situation.
This is also an attack on quality journalism as sport and news-gathering staff who are already struggling to cope have bigger workloads foisted on to them. Parent company Johnston Press, which made pre-tax profits of 26.1 million in the first six months of last year, has made endless cuts to keep shareholders happy and clearly expects workers to pay the price for massive debts that it racked up in a buying spree to extend its regional newspaper empire in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
We are appealing for any support that the wider movement can give us. Attached is a sheet for solidarity collections. We will have a hardship fund as members don't receive strike pay from the national union, although it will contribute to the fund. Please make any cheques payable to South Yorkshire NUJ and send to Sheffield Newspapers Dispute c/o NUJ, 5th Floor Arthur House, Chorlton Street, Manchester M1 3FH. Thanks.
Union officials will be in talks with management tomorrow, Tuesday, morning and will then be reporting back to the chapel at lunchtime. If the situation changes as a result, we'll be letting people know that as soon as possible.
Otherwise, we'll be picketing the offices at York Street off High Street in the city centre (a minute's walk from the Cathedral tram stop) from probably about 6am until mid-morning. It'd be great to see anyone who wants to support us.
Email email@example.com or contact Chris Morley at the NUJ Manchester office firstname.lastname@example.org to send messages of support or to find out further information.