NUJ chapels rebel with 'no confidence' vote against Sly Bailey

By Jon Slattery NUJ chapels across Trinity Mirror have passed a “no
confidence” motion in chief executive Sly Bailey and her strategy for
the group, which they fear will include another major round of job cuts.

The
union’s executive meeting on Friday and Saturday is now almost certain
to give the go-ahead for industrial action ballots at the country’s
biggest newspaper group, if talks over the redundancies fail to address
the NUJ’s concerns about jobs, staffing levels, editorial resources and
workloads.

The hard hitting “no confidence”

motion (left) –
backed by 17 chapels – was sent directly to Bailey and all Trinity
Mirror shareholders on Tuesday, with a covering letter from NUJ general
secretary Jeremy Dear.

In the motion, it is claimed that Bailey’s
strategy for the group will jeopardise the long-term future of its
newspapers and has led to a “disastrous decline in staff morale”.

Dear said: “This [the motion] shows the level of anger there is among staff at Trinity’s decision to wield the axe again.

Previous
culls have resulted in not a single extra reader and have done nothing
to build the long-term readership and stability of the papers.

“How
can it be good business to cut editorial, cut marketing in favour of
putting ever higher proportions of the company’s wealth into the
pockets of shareholders?

How can it be good for readers to have
fewer journalists covering fewer stories with less time to research,
write and produce high-quality national and local newspapers?”

Trinity Mirror hit back at the NUJ in a statement (right), which accused the union of leaking information to attract publicity.

NUJ MOTION ‘No confidence in Sly’

Dear: “sacking is Sly’s one and only strategy”

“The
Trinity Mirror NUJ Group Chapel wishes to put on record that its
members have no confidence in the strategy of the company’s chief
executive Sly Bailey.

“If Sly Bailey carries out her threat of 18
October to axe jobs, it will be just the latest in a series of staff
cuts experienced since she took charge. Sacking staff appears to be her
one and only strategy to improve the company’s finances.

“There
is precious little evidence of any long-term plan to address the
decline in readership of the company’s national, regional and local
titles – just an obsession with increasing profits in the short term,
regardless of market conditions. Cutting jobs will not add a single
extra reader, encourage a single new advertiser or improve the service
we provide to local communities. It will only serve to jeopardise the
long-term future of the papers.

“The NUJ Group Chapel believes
Sly Bailey’s failed strategy has led to a disastrous decline in staff
morale, a loss of readers and consequent fall in Trinity Mirror’s share
of key markets, and a failure to provide adequate staffing levels or
resources to maintain the high standard of editorial coverage of which
we are proud.

“Consequently we have no confidence in Sly Bailey as chief executive of Trinity Mirror.”

The motion has been endorsed by the following NUJ chapels: Dear: “sacking is Sly’s one and only strategy”


Daily Record and Sunday Mail/The Glaswegian/ Scottish Mirror ● Mirror
Group Newspapers ● Scottish and Universal ● Racing Post ● Western Mail
and Echo/ Wales on Sunday ● Newcastle Chronicle and Journal/Sunday Sun
● Liverpool Daily Post and Echo/Liverpool Weekly Newspaper Group ●
Coventry Newspapers ● Birmingham Post and Mail/Sunday Mercury ●
Huddersfield Examiner ● Evening Gazette/Gazette Media, Middlesbrough ●
North London and Herts Newspapers ● Yellow Advertiser Group ● Midland
Weekly Media ● South London Press ● Trinity Mirror North Wales
weeklies’ chapel ● West Bucks and Uxbridge

TRINITY MIRROR STATEMENT ‘Safeguarding business’

Bailey’s review: “no threat to axe jobs”

“By
communicating with our staff at the earliest possible opportunity about
the business environment and our intention to conduct a review, we are
fulfilling our obligations both as a responsible employer and under the
consultation and information directive.

“What we need – and staff
have a right to expect – from the union is constructive dialogue with
local management, not a policy of making exaggerated claims and leaking
all correspondence to generate publicity for the NUJ.

“We don’t
think it is in anyone’s interests to conduct employee relations through
the trade press, and will respond to Jeremy Dear’s letter in due
course. However, it contains a number of inaccuracies that cannot go
uncorrected.

“Trinity Mirror has not made a ‘threat to axe jobs’.
We have informed staff that we are reviewing a number of options –
which may include redundancies – designed to safeguard our businesses
in what is a difficult period for the whole media industry. It is too
early to say what the outcome of that review will be. This review is
the only responsible course of action in the face of a general slowdown
in advertising markets, and is in the best long-term interests of our
newspapers and the vast majority of our staff.

“The NUJ’s comments about circulation performance are simply wrong.

“The
latest regional ABCs showed that Trinity Mirror publishes the
top-performing title in the UK, and indeed five of the top six morning
titles in terms of growth in newspaper sales. The overall performance
of our regional titles is in line with the rest of the market. In the
nationals, the Daily Mirror’s circulation performance has improved
significantly, and in September it was ahead of the market. These
successes reflect continued investment in our newspapers and our
commitment to drive improved circulation performance across the Group.

“Finally,
we do not recognise, nor have we previously heard of, the ‘NUJ Group
Chapel’. Local NUJ chapels are recognised at our individual operating
businesses, where management has regular contact with them.”

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