IFJ Backs Walk-out by UK Journalists in Battle for Quality and Jobs

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today gave its full backing to strike action taken by more than 250 UK journalists this week in defence of jobs and quality journalism. Journalists walked out last Tuesday from the three leading newspapers in Scotland, The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times as well as Caledonian Magazines as part of an ongoing action to protest budget and job cuts.

The journalists, members of IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland, downed tools on what could be the first strike at the Scottish newspapers in 27 years. This 24-hour strike followed the first walk out last Friday.

“Journalists worldwide should applaud the magnificent stand taken by NUJ members in Scotland in response to a terrible onslaught by Newsquest, owned by US giant Gannett, to squeeze more profit at the expense of jobs,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

Despite Gannett continuing to make massive profits they have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies in an attempt to axe up to £3m from budgets.

The IFJ has pledged to do whatever it can to support the journalists on strike and is calling on all its affiliates worldwide, in particular its affiliates in the US, to show their solidarity.

“This is globalisation going mad”, added Boumelha. “Gannett are making huge profits but chose to reward their shareholders rather than investing in editorial departments to maintain quality. The journalists at The Herald are determined to fight for decent jobs and to defend quality journalism and they have our wholehearted support.”

NUJ members voted 87% in favour of strike action. The 24-hour walk-out hit the paper badly with material cobbled together from files and other titles. “You have a US media giant using an English agency to produce a Scottish newspaper, so you can imagine the reaction” said Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser.

The IFJ is investigating how to gather further support for the dispute and is consulting with its affiliates in the United States to co-ordinate future actions.

Further strikes are planned at the Evening Times and Sunday Herald starting Friday, August 3rd.

Please send messages of support to mail@jamesdoherty.org

For more information go to www.nuj.org.uk

To contact the IFJ call +32 2 235 22 00

The IFJ represents of 600,000 journalists worldwide in 114 countries