High Court injunction halts Enfield strike over job cut

Regional press
giant Trinity Mirror has used a High Court injunction to stop rebel
journalists on the weekly Enfield Gazette from going on strike.

Nine
editorial staff are involved in the dispute, which centres around
Trinity Mirror’s plans to cut 47 out of 380 journalism jobs in its
Southern division of weekly newspapers. The savings are to come from
creating a centralised subbing office for all the titles and from copy
sharing.

Journalists at the Enfield Gazette , Barnet Press and
Haringey Advertiser have said the changes will “rip the heart out of
local journalism” and voted in favour of industrial action.

A
first one-day strike took place last Wednesday but a second three-day
stoppage was abandoned after a High Court hearing on Friday.

Jonathan
Lovett, father of chapel at the Enfield titles, said: “We are
devastated, it’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We weren’t
expecting that they would go to such lengths to stop our democratic
right to protest.”

The legal argument centred around the wording of notices given to management informing them of the strike.

NUJ members held a protest outside the Enfield offices on Monday morning from 8 to 9am.

They also handed out leaflets headlined “The death of local journalism”

which
said: “Trinity Mirror, which increased its profits to a massive £120
million, has got rid of four local editorial staff and now plans to
produce the paper across the other side of London in Uxbridge by people
who may never have even visited our area.

“We are striking to make Trinity Mirror think again about destroying local journalism.”

NUJ
general secretary Jeremy Dear described the ruling as “a ludicrous
judgment”. He added: “It goes to show what a farce trade union
legislation in this country is.”

A new strike ballot is due to starton Monday.

A
Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “The only people wielding a sledgehammer
to crack a nut are the local branch of the NUJ. Only one full-time
member of staff is leaving the business, and they volunteered for
redundancy.

“The local NUJ have reacted to some very minor changes with this wholly disproportionate action.

“Recourse
to the High Court was the only option open to us after the NUJ chose to
disregard clear notification rules for the second time in this dispute.

“We
will be monitoring the quality of our newspapers very closely as the
changes come in, and the union was invited to participate in this
process.

They declined to be involved.”

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