JOURNALISM: NUJ reacts to home working plans for Lennox Herald and Daily Record

Lennox publisher closes its offices and makes journalists work from home

Reach logo

Union representatives reacted to the plans revealed today:

Chris Morley, Reach NUJ national coordinator, said:

“The entire world of work – and landscape of the media industry – has changed fundamentally in the 12 months since the Covid-19 crisis drove our members to work from home almost overnight. No one really saw this coming but the creativity, ingenuity and sheer hard work of journalists has made the big ‘working from home’ forced experiment work through the difficulties of lockdowns and so it is inevitable that employers will have evaluated this and closely monitored employees’ reactions.

“There have been some advantages for companies but also many employees in terms of better use of time, quicker communications and reshaping of work-life balance. For others there have been real difficulties that also require help and support – so listening to individuals and their circumstances will be important.

“We should also not lose sight of the important symbol that the physical presence of media companies has for local communities – something recognised by the NUJ’s News Recovery Plan. The loss of so many Reach centres across the UK will inevitably be a cause for concern for those communities. It is important that Reach takes this into account and works hard to mitigate the issues arising from this.”

Mark Johnson, Reach NUJ group chapel chair, said:

“This is a massive project for Reach plc and we, as a union, understand that our members will have lots to consider and say about the proposals. It will undoubtedly affect them in a multitude of ways – some of which we may not have thought about yet.

“With this in mind, a one size fits all solution from the company probably would not be the best way forward and we appreciate therefore that the company is stressing that it will listen carefully to the individual circumstances of members.

“We will be consulting closely with our members to understand their key questions and queries. By working together, we can ameliorate any potential problems and issues and hopefully find solutions that work for all.”

News Recovery Plan

  • 11 May 2020

The NUJ has launched a News Recovery Plan for the UK and Ireland to sustain the press and media through the Covid-19 crisis and reinvigorate the industry into a reimagined future. It sets out a bold set of measures and interventions to support and protect jobs and quality journalism.

The NUJ has launched a News Recovery Plan for the UK and Ireland to sustain the press and media through the Covid-19 crisis and reinvigorate the industry into a reimagined futureThe present crisis has shown just how vital it is to have a news media providing accurate information, how desperate people are for trustworthy content and how essential it is that the government and authorities are held to account.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, has set out a bold set of measures and interventions to support and protect jobs and quality journalism. She said:

“This is not and cannot be about the preservation of the status quo. The emergency intervention needed now can only be the first steps towards a news reimagined. We need a triage plan of intervention and investment. That will involve action to stem the immediate damage being wrought, and longer-term measures to heal historic wounds.

Our aim is to create a healthy diverse press, focussed squarely on the public good, one that can be sustained now and into the future. That’s why we want governmental commitments to a range of actions – some immediate and some when the worst of this crisis is over – that will create a news industry firmly rooted in the public interest journalism which will deepen public engagement in our democratic structures.”

The short-term measures include:

  • A windfall tax of 6 per cent on the tech giants, using the Digital Services Tax, towards funding a News Recovery Plan.
  • Tax credits and interest free loans to support journalist jobs, for frontline reporters covering the Covid-19 crisis and recovery.
  • No public money for firms making redundancies, cutting pay, giving executive bonuses or blocking trade union organisation.
  • Strategic investment in government advertising, including the hyperlocal sector, involving central and local governments and public bodies.
  • Further funding by NESTA’s Future News Fund of innovative, public interest journalism and a similar scheme in Ireland
  • Free vouchers for online or print subscriptions to all 18-and-19-year olds and tax credits for households with subscriptions.

The NUJ is working with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to meet the challenges to press freedom thrown up by the pandemic. The IFJ, NUJ and sister unions are resisting moves to clamp down on journalistic access and authorities evading scrutiny. The plan says: “Aid packages for media are being introduced around the world, however a piecemeal approach will only go so far – the NUJ is calling for a global recalibration of the media industry and renewed commitments to press freedom, spearheaded by the IFJ and other international partners.”

Two thirds of all journalists have suffered pay cuts, lost work and experience tougher conditions at work, according to an IFJ survey of journalists from across the world conducted between 26-28 April. In tandem with the NUJ’s News Recovery Plan, the IFJ has launched a series of global proposals to protect media, save jobs and support the most precarious workers. “It is time to prepare for the future, a future of quality, ethical and solidarity-based journalism that respects labour rights and fundamental freedoms,” it said.

IFJ launches global platform for quality journalism

Fears are growing that global press freedom is under its most serious threat yet because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

04 May 2020

IFJ launches global proposals in response to covid crisis

IFJ survey shows depth of crisis for media and demands urgent action to save jobs, protect independent media and fund quality journalism.

30 April 2020

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