Strike action cancelled at North West Evening Mail

Industrial action at the North West Evening Mail in Barrow has been called off after a reporter threatened with compulsory redundancy was saved.

A National Union of Journalists ballot, held earlier this month, returned 77 per cent of members in favour of strike action.

But that action was called off after Cumbrian Newspapers confirmed a sports reporter threatened with compulsory redundancy would move to news. A pay freeze has also been cancelled.

The ballot was originally held in response to compulsory redundancies.

Paul Turner, father of the chapel, told Press Gazette: ‘Everyone understands the state of the current economic climate, and there would be the possibility of job losses.

‘But we didn’t want compulsories and we’re delighted that has been ruled out.”

The Evening Mail has seen two staff leave voluntarily: John Townend, deputy editor, and a features writer/sub.

An editorial assistant, who is not an NUJ member, has suffered compulsory redundancy. Other non-editorial jobs have also gone.

Cumbrian Newspapers – which includes Carlisle’s News and Star and The Whitehaven News – announced last month it was to cut 40 jobs in response to a revenue slump.

Chris Morley, NUJ northern organiser, said: ‘There is a problem of a long hours culture at Barrow. Some journalists have clocked up 100 hours in time owed.

‘There is going to be a reorganisation and the chapel will take steps to ensure this problem is dealt with.

‘An independent stress survey done by the chapel has shown that some areas need urgent attention to bring them into line with the health and safety executive’s guidelines.

‘There is a strong resolve in the chapel to preserve jobs so the long hours problem is not made worse.”

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