Celebs back fight against redundancies

By Sarah Lagan More than 80 Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily
Press journalists have protested against a possible 36 redundancies
with a second day of action, backed by a host of celebrities, on
Tuesday.

Former Bristol MP Tony Benn, who has been a member of
the NUJ for 55 years, has written to Evening Post editorin- chief
Michael Norton asking for him to safeguard the quality of the paper,
which he believes could be jeopardised by job losses and the pooling of
editorial departments between the titles.

Benn told Norton: “I am
writing on behalf of Derek Brooks (Bristol Evening Post father of
chapel) and the NUJ to express my dismay that your newspapers are
planning to cut out 36 journalists’

jobs at Christmas.

“A
local newspaper is of great importance in any community, as I know from
my own experience, having been the local MP for 33 years and reading
the Post and the Western Daily Press every day.

“I hope you will feel able to respond to this request, which I am putting as strongly as I possibly can.”

Novelist
Jilly Cooper has sent a letter to Western Daily Press editor Andy
Wright. She wrote: “I heard rumours of job cuts and I would plead with
you, if you’ve got any spare cash, not to cut the staff down any more
because they work so hard and they’re always so polite and so
conscientious.

When they interview me or anybody I know they always do such wonderful write-ups. And they have a reputation for accuracy.”

Others
supporting the union include Lord Bath, Poet Laureate Andrew Motion,
chef Keith Floyd, Glastonbury festival organiser Michael Eavis, Massive
Attack and The Stranglers.

Journalists at both newspapers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of having a ballot on industrial action.

The result should be known by the end of the month.

Paul
Breeden, FoC at the Western Daily Press NUJ chapel, said: “The strength
of feeling at the Western Daily Press is shown by the fact that we only
decided to form an NUJ chapel at the beginning of November. Now we have
the vast majority of journalists as members – about 58 out of 68.

“We are united in our belief that these proposals simply cannot work.”

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