Work-to-rule and walkouts over Coventry staffing levels

NUJ members at the Coventry Telegraph are adopting work-to-rule conditions and could hold an all-day walkout in an escalating industrial dispute over staffing levels.

Journalists at the Telegraph are aggrieved that staff numbers have dwindled in recent years after journalists’ jobs were lost through redundancy schemes and not replaced.

The Telegraph has 11 reporters – a number the union says is far too low to cover a population area close to 800,000.

In a mark of protest union members will take a full hour’s lunch on Friday – 30 minutes more than they are allowed. On 5 November staff will take part in a chapel meeting during working hours as part of a national day of union action.

NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley stressed that it was up to union members whether the action lasted ‘five minutes or all day”.

He told Press Gazette: ‘Effectively we are sending the management the message that this needs to be sorted out…The key thing is that they [Trinity] have started to cotton on that this is a real issue. It’s in the hands of the management now.

‘We are hoping a solution can be found with the least damage all round.

Chapel officials were told today that a reporter would be recruited to replace a journalist who left in the past few weeks, but Morley said: ‘the chapel is not convinced that this is anything meaningful”.

Until the action is resolved staff will withdraw ‘goodwill”, such as missing breaks and working unpaid overtime.

Talks between staff and union officials and the conciliation service Acas in August failed to reach in agreement.

The union will officially serve notice of the industrial action later this week.

Trinity Mirror declined to comment today. Telegraph editor Alan Kirby was unavailable for comment.

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