Jewish Telegraph says it is here today thanks to Margaret Thatcher: 'We salute the passing of a great leader'

The editor of the Jewish Telegraph believes his newspaper and others would not still be in existence today without Margaret Thatcher.

In an editorial Paul Harris praised Lady Thatcher for taking on the unions and helping his title survive beyond the 1980s.

Although the newspaper was family owned, he said it was not free to manage its own affairs and hopes of progress and profitability were “stifled” by the National Graphical Association print union.

“Margaret Thatcher had the courage to stand up to the unions without any concern for her own popularity,” Harris said.

“The Jewish Telegraph is still here today because of her. We salute the passing of a great leader.”

Here is the leader in full:

WERE it not for Baroness Thatcher you would not be reading this edition of the Jewish Telegraph. Indeed, it is doubtful whether this newspaper – or indeed many others – would have survived beyond the 1980s had she not taken on the unions, curbed their powers and eliminated archaic practices, many of which were scarcely legal but which others before her had been too afraid to challenge. The Jewish Telegraph was not immune. As a family-owned newspaper group, we were not free to manage our own affairs. We were subjected to the whims of the National Graphical Association, the print union which dictated who we could employ, how much we had to pay and stifled any hope of progress or profitability by insisting on restrictive and damaging bonuses for its members every time we or other publishers attempted to introduce innovations. Failure to accept its terms was met with threats of industrial action or illegal secondary action by, among others, members of unions which controlled our distribution.

We were threatened constantly that if we introduced the-then new computer technology, the NGA would rather see all members of the Jewish Telegraph chapel (in-house union branch) out of work than allow us to make a single redundancy. The NGA tolerated and certainly never condemned quite obvious deliberate acts of sabotage – quite literally the proverbial spanner in the works included, which occurred more than once on our printing presses, causing extensive damage – and dropped forms of type. These acts resulted in crippling overtime payments which we could not refuse to pay without threats of withdrawal of labour. We suffered overtime bans, unnecessary stoppages in supposed sympathy with members of other unions – all illegal, but which we were powerless to stop. Those again incurred overtime payments to NGA members in order to meet deadlines which would otherwise have been missed due to their own, malicious actions.

Margaret Thatcher had the courage to stand up to the unions without any concern for her own popularity. The Jewish Telegraph is still here today because of her. We salute the passing of a great leader.

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