Is this the end for the Local Press?

NUJ members in North London are asking for support from other trade unionists to help save the local press in Enfield. Below is a press release forwarded to us yesterday. To all our members living in the Enfield area please support this strike by dropping by the picket lines as the demise of a flourishing local press only serves to take the heat off publicly accountable bodies. Especially if the only local alternative is the Council freesheet!

From Tuesday, April 19, journalists at the north London newspaper group will go on strike over the Tindle business plan that is leaving once award-winning newspapers to dwindle and die.

The company is refusing to replace members of staff when they leave, while expecting increased output from its already overworked employees – seemingly with no viable strategy to revive the newspapers’ fortunes.

Owner Sir Ray Tindle has claimed to be the “Saviour of local newspapers” and recently said: “Despite the doom-mongers regional newspapers are alive and well…Not in north London – here they suffer death by a thousand cutbacks.  The company says our centre has to cut costs, but last year our employer Tindle Newspapers made more than £3million profit.

• More than a third of editorial staff have left without being replaced and key positions are not being filled.

• Just three reporters are churning out nine newspapers every week.

• In the past few weeks management has slashed the Sports section by half while the future of the entire Arts & Leisure section is under threat.

Bad for the community…

As a consequence of its refusal to replace staff an inferior product is being delivered to our readers and, therefore, our advertisers:

• Reporters do not have time to leave their desks, meaning they are missing stories of vital importance.

• We are unable to cover a range of council meetings, attend community events, court cases and inquiries and report them to the public.

• This leads to a failure to uphold the newspapers’ fine tradition of holding public bodies to account and the worst kind of “churnalism”.

NUJ members will be outside their offices in Refuge House, 9-10 River Front, Enfield, EN1 3SZ (just across from Enfield Town railway station) from Tuesday to Thursday over the next two weeks.

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