Support Yorkshire journalists' dispute

20 Jan 2002

Messages of support

The Newsquest Bradford Chapel has received some fantastic messages of support from all over the world. To add yours just email and/or

Here's a selection:


We're touring in Europe (we set off today) so won't be at the picket but we wish you luck with the strike.

In solidarity

To Striking NUJ Members at Bradford:

We, the 34,000 members of The Newspaper Guild-CWA, know firsthand how ruthless the Gannett Co can be toward its unionized employees.

We fully support your efforts to achieve fair pay and a fair shake at Newsquest in Bradford.

Please don't hesitate to call on us for support in your struggle.
In Solidarity,

Just a quick message of support for the journos at Bradford and good luck with your fight for justice.

I've just had a good result with the Stephen Downing appeal. Hope a little bit of luck rubs off on you.

Best regards,

Congratulations to everyone concerned for a terrific turnout. I hope you are delighted with the solidarity of your chapel. You have a right to be!

I expect some of those on strike were not even in the Union 18 months ago. I hope you are all walking a little taller and felling stronger from what you have done. You have certainly moved management several times - proving that they are afraid of the effects of your action, despite what they say to the contrary. I am sorry individuals are facing intimidation and I hope no one is worried by any threats.

It is disgusting that the company raised the question of violence, as that has never been the NUJ way. So good to prove them wrong! Please pass on my best wishes for what you have achieved so far and for next week's action.

In solidarity

Good stuff- you can tell it hurt the way they tried unsuccessfully to play it down!

Just a quick note to say congratulations on the strength and success of yesterday's strike action. It was good to read the report and see members had backed the action so overwhelmingly and interesting to see Paul Davidson and co are already being made to consider the issues seriously.

If there is anything I can do for you (I feel a bit isolated here)let me know. I have passed on messages to some other journos I know in other places and will send something to the people at Battersea and Wandsworth TUC who will circulate it across the trade union movement in London.

I know how hard things must be for the chapel officers at the moment but as I'm sure you are finding out now you have friends and supporters all over the place. Best of luck for the second day of action.

In solidarity

Congratulations for your half-day strike, and all the best for preparations for more action.

At a 25-strong branch meeting last Monday, the London Magazine Branch passed a motion expressing our solidarity with your action, and acknowledgement of its importance for every union member. The motion also passed a contribution of £1,000 for your strike fund, which I have put in the post today.

The reason for the delay was news on Wednesday that management appeared on the brink of caving in. Hopefully, yesterday's action, and the threat to take more action next week, will bring this happy event about before your having to walk out again.

If not, then the £1,000 will clearly be very useful.

All the best

Fully support NUJ staff in their action. Let us hope reason prevails and that resolution, on honourable terms, will be swift. I am dismayed that anyone could suggest there might be violence. The suggestion should be withdrawn - without reservation.

Sorry I haven't been in touch sooner to give my support for the strike action. Obviously everyone here is rooting for you and watching with great interest. One of our journalists visited your picket line on Wednesday (even if it was only to meet up with some of his drinking mates!) Good luck next Friday anyway

Congratulations to all the Bradford colleagues who took strike action this week. A really fine effort.

If there is any justice in this world, and I'm reliably informed that there's still the odd bit still up for grabs, it will be case of onwards to victory.

A cheque for the strike fund is in the post, honestly.

Congratulations on your courage and solidarity. You are an example to us all. Good luck in your fight.

Glad to hear your strike action went well and hope your efforts will ultimately bear fruit.

Keep hammering away at the selfish fatcats.

Hopefully good will prevail.

Best wishes

Well done on what youve achieved so far  keep fighting, you know youre winning when the opposition have to resort to intimidation.

Hope to see you on the 25th.

I've been very interested to read about the strike in Bradford. Congratulations to everyone who has the courage to stand up and strike, especially in the face of such appalling intimidation.

In the late 80s, BBC staff went on strike over pay, when the Disparity between our pay and that of staff in independent broadcasting was enormous. Our cause was helped somewhat by the fact that during the dispute, The job of PA to the Assistant Director General (or some such important and responsible position like that, certainly for someone of experience and maturity) was advertised. The salary was around £11000 a year. Even then you could not live in London on that unless you lived with your parents, or had an earning spouse! We won our case in the end. Of course, you rarely end up with what you asked for, but the days of the 70s are over, no-one takes strike action these days without extreme provocation, and whatever the Bradford journos end up with, Newsquest Bradford will think twice about trying to walk all over them again. So good luck to them, and I hope their action stops this sort of intimidation, once and for all.

Best wishes

Dear colleagues,

for the strike you are starting today we wish you power, endurance and the support you need to make your fight a success.

We know that it is not easy for journalists to go on strike but we are sure that your strike is more than justified. The pay offer of the management is a shame regarding the dreadful low wages you get. 20 percent less than the official UK average wage is a scandal. The work you do and the product you realize is important and necessary for the community and at least for democracy. Especially reflecting the responsibility of the press which the owners like to point out when they are talking about their newspapers it is only fair that you get wages that at least are more than the average.

But it is not only the wages that are important. Working conditions and days for rest help to do a really good job as a journalist.

We hope that your important strike will be successful and a signal for all the colleagues that have to work under similar conditions in UK and all over Europe.

With solidarity

Dear Bradford-journalist,

We wish you out of our hearts a victory in your strike! We from LabourNet-Austria published suddenly your calls.

In full solidarity,

I saw a report of your planned action on the LabourNet UK website, and wanted to express my support. Media groups like Newsquest make huge profits, yet refuse to grant decent pay and conditions to the skilled workers on whom those profits rely. It's good to see you standing together to challenge this unfairness. No doubt Newsquest will use their various other media outlets to condemn your action; rest assured there are lots of trade unionists out here who know the score and won't be fooled!

Best wishes and solidarity,

On the eve of your first day out, congratulations. It is about time NUJ members took their courage in their hands and fought the good fight against slave wages. Hopefully more members will take heart from your example.

Pass on my good wishes for a successful outcome to your members.

I'm arranging with NUJ Treasurer David Washington to forward my Personal contribution (from expenses due to me) for your fund and I intend to bring your appeal before the West of Ireland branch meeting at the end of this month.


I just read about your proposed strike action in the Northern Soul Bulletin and wanted to extend solidarity greetings and wish you good luck. It's principled people such as yourself and the Bradford Newsquest chapel that keep the union relevant and alive.

Being based in New York, I doubt if I'll be able to join you on the Picket line but let me know if there's anything else I can do from over here.

Best wishes

A message of solidarity from Bradford 0602 Community and General Branch of MSF as the chapel begins industrial action. You also have the support of the West Yorkshire County Association of Trades Union Councils. I shall raise the request for support funds at our next meetings. I shall be joining the picket at about 9.15 for half an hour and then back for a bit at 12.30, with an inspiring range of banners.

Hope all is well with you - what a start to the new year. I have forwarded info to Mike for Bradford Trades Union Council, but don't hesitate to contact either of us if there is anything specific you would like us, or the mighty organisations we represent, to do. cheers

Congratulations on the vote for strike action In the interests of maintaining wages in Bradford and of keeping a proper local paper produced by proper journalists I know it is very important that you succeed in your action. All the best

Well done for standing up to management. And good luck. My thoughts are with you all.

Just a quick note to wish you the very best with the strikes. While the union HQ has been pontificating about a national Low Pay Campaign, you and your members have gone ahead and started it in the most direct way possible!

with all good wishes

Greetings, best wishes and solidarity from Budapest, Hungary!

Heard about your strike from an NUJ email network.

I am an NUJ member - maybe the only one in this country, but never mind - but the message struck a cord with me. I am originally from Harrogate, went to school in Leeds. My mother and her family were from Bradford, so I know the whole area well. When you are on the picket lines you may as well read up about the Manningham Mill girls' strike of 1889 (?). Could be a good feature when you've won. Best wishes and good luck!

Dear Trade Union Activists,

I just wanted to write and send you good wishes on your strike. I feel regretful that US anti-union corporate giants are impacting your realm. Hopefully, in the context of your countries, they will feel a bit more constrained from hurting people.

Dear Managers of UK Gannett,

Stop doing the things that Gannett does in the USA. Respect your employees!

Do this now, do not wait for the guilt to hit you later in your life. In Solidarity,

Hello fellow journalists:

As a former newspaper worker and current staff member for The Newspaper Guild-CWA, I felt the need to write to voice my support of your efforts after reading about your union's struggle against Newsquest (better known to us in the United States as Gannett). As a negotiator who recently concluded an agreement with Gannett, I can understand and wholeheartedly support your need to make a strong statement to this company. My apologies for not participating in the Jan 16 e-mailings you requested, but I did not get the opportunity to read about your campaign until today. But I did want to wish you all the best in your current campaign. Remember, stand together, win together!

Dear Colleagues,

I can't be with you in your just fight, but my thoughts are with you. Best wishes in your struggle. A victory for you is a victory for all of us. Keep up the fight! Best Wishes

Good luck with the strike - show them you mean business!

I've been so glad to read about what's going on in Bradford re the NUJ and I fully support it.

Working there was one of the worst experiences of my life and I'm glad to be out of it but I hope you can stand up and make a difference for those still working there. When I was off with stress even my doctor wasn't surprised when he heard where I worked! Love

Solidarity Greetings from Nicaragua.

Can you please pass on my best wishes to your colleagues as they embark on the three days of action. It is very encouraging to see a chapel taking a stand about what is the most important issue facing journalists - low pay.

I was delighted to hear how strong the feeling in the chapel is and how determined people are to campaign and act for fair pay. Having spent a long time on strike some years ago I know it takes courage and a real determination.

I wish I could be there with you to pass on my best wishes in person but rest assured if action is continuing when I return in three weeks time I will make coming to your picket line one of my first actions as General Secretary.

All the best and keep me informed of how things are going. If I could I'd send a cheque with this email for the campaign funds but consider this an IOU for 100 pounds as a contribution. Paula and I will send some emails from here to other Newsquest/newspaper chapels we are in regular contact with.

All the best

Dear colleague,

Aidan White sent to us - Fnsi, Italian journalists' union - the release for support to your strike. We would like to inform Italian journalists on your program of strikes and on the situation - economic and professional - of the colleagues of Newsquest co and of all local newspapers of northern UK. So, please, send to me all the documents that you think could be interesting.

Best regards,

Just a quick note to offer the support of The West Cumberland NUJ Branch, good luck and stick to your guns.

All the best

Good luck. Hope it isn't too freezing for you guys.


Am stuck out in Zambia trying to deal with elections and have just seen the details of your strike action.

All the best!

There's a small cheque on its way.

Everybody out at the T&A!!! Wish I was there!

I wouldn't have believed this a year ago and I am still amazed. I think it is brilliant that people are making a stand.

You have all put up with low pay and long hours for years and Newsquest really have this coming to them. I hope you get a much better offer and show all those new members what a Union can do.

Please give my very best wishes to anyone who might be interested.

In solidarity

Consider yourself given a big hug of support. I've only just got the message from I'm leaving for a little holiday in an hour so unfortunately I won't have time to ring you. Anyway, as I say, big hug to you and my friends at Bradford.

Please pass on my very best wishes.

I'll be sending the fighting fund a contribution.


As a 'veteran' of the 1978/9 national strike, may I wish you all the best for your action. Managements are ruthless in getting papers out when journalists are on strike, even though they're no good, so don't be demoralised by that.

The key is to make sure there are no stories or features stored anywhere on your computers before you go out, as they'll just raid them and bung them in to fill between the ads.

Just to say good luck with the dispute. And good luck with the days of action. I think I can safely say you have the support of almost all the members of my chapel here at Carlton TV. Many of us started our careers in the local and regional press and remember how poorly paid the job can be - particularly for juniors.

A collection to contribute to your strike fund is now underway.


Bradford-branch of NUJ

Union of Journalists in Finland expresses its support and wishes courage and luck in your Equal Pay Campaign.

Im contacting you in my capacity as secretary of the North West Lancs branch of the NUJ to send you a message of support in your struggle for decent wages.

Please get in touch if theres anything the branch can do.

With best wishes

This is a personal message of support for your proposed industrial action on January 16th, 25th and 31st.

The Guardian NUJ Committee has worked hard in recent years to raise the salaries of the lowest paid here, and I feel confident that my colleagues would back your efforts to secure a decent wage.

Good luck tomorrow.

Congratulations on your magnificent stand - the Rotherham Advertiser Chapel salutes you! We agreed at our Chapel meeting today to hold weekly collections for your strike. KEEP UP THE FIGHT.

The South Yorkshire branch has likewise supported your action and agreed £50for a start! Fraternally

Just wanted to send a quick note wishing you all the best in your current dispute. I'll be asking my Union Branch for a donation to your strike fund at our next meeting. Keep up the good work!!!

I received the e-mail from yourself in regards to the journalists' strike in Bradford. I turned up to the half day picket today and I am offering my support and solidarity to the strike as a member of the Socialist Party.

I would like to keep informed as to the outcome of the strike action, if it is successful in gaining the demands of a decent pay increase.

I was heartened to see that the action was well supported and you were all in a buoyant mood.

Yours in Solidarity

To my Brothers and Sisters in the UK,

I support your efforts to win a better way of life for your members! A strike can be a very difficult thing. When I was a kid, my Dad's union (Oil & Chemical Workers) was on strike for nine months. We learned to be very frugal. But it made us strong -- as individuals, as a family and as labor activists.

Whether your job action lasts a few days or a few months, you will find your members have a new confidence in themselves and their ability to have a say in the workplace. Keep up the good work! Stay warm! STAY TOGETHER ! ! !

In solidarity,

Bernadette Pratl,

Can I offer you all the best from the NUJ Officials' Chapel.

Dear brothers/sisters

Just a short personal message of solidarity - I will raise your dispute in our Chapel when we meet next. I am constantly struck by the small minded penny pinching of media owners who spare no expense for their own largesse.

Your fight is part of a resurgence of grassroots trade unionism that is telling the managers "we're back" in every sector of the economy.

A donation follows.


Thank you for your e-mails regarding the forthcoming strike action by local journalists. I have spoken recently with the editor of the T&A about the situation and have made my views clear in previous correspondence with the management.

You will appreciate that it is difficult for me to intervene in a private sector industrial dispute. However, I hope that an amicable solution can be found soon. Thank you for contacting me on this matter and please be assured that I will continue to monitor developments closely.

Yours sincerely

Good luck with all your efforts to stand up to Newsquest and its strategy of making money off the back of dedicated and hardworking journalists.

Best wishes


The NUJ Chapel at the T&G Central Office sends you our message of support in your action with Newsquest and wishes you every success in your struggle for justice.

In the spirit of solidarity the Netherlands Branch of the NUJ wants to offer it's support to you all in your struggle and we're behind our sisters and brothers all the way. Sorry we can't be there with banners, etc but it's a bit far to pop over from Amsterdam (and other parts of NL) but (in those proverbial words) there is a cheque in the post from the branch (plus a personal donation from me) to help the campaign fund. Plus we've also mailed Paul Davidson of Newsquest and (politely) pointed out the justice of your claim and called on Newsquest to meet it.

We're also circulating the rest of our members to send their own expressions of solidarity and (hopefully) dig into their pockets to come up with something to help fill the funds.

In Solidarity

Dear Mr Davidson,

I have recently learned about the offensively low pay that Newsquest/Gannett Company is paying in the UK. It is time for that to stop, and you need to pay a decent wage so that your employees can survive and prosper.


Go get 'em!

In solidarity

As American newspaper trade unionists, we know how difficult it is to stand up to Gannett.

Good luck. Hang in.

I am writing to express my full support for NUJ in their dispute with the Bradford-based press.

Disputes of this nature are tragic, but become inevitable as injustices mount and as pay drops relative to market value and the costs of living. Traditional print media can hardly hope to stay competitive in a changing market environment if salaries and benefits are not negotiated to attract the most talented and experienced people. Every effort should be made to attract and to maintain a fully qualified workforce and steps must be taken to insure that this workforce remains competitive and functions as a driving force through providing opportunities for skill enhancement and professional and personal growth. This certainly costs money but the alternative is to lose good people to other media and fall behind in the marketplace.

I fully support NUJ and hope that this dispute will end soon and with a settlement both sides can be proud of having crafted.

I write as an editor and as a supporter of social justice.

Stick together people, remember, 'they' want divide and rule.

Stay togther and you'll win.

Best wishes

As union members who waged a fierce battle against Gannett for more than five years before contracts were ultimately signed, know that you have our support. The support will always be at least in spirit; whenever there are specific needs, let us know and we may be able to accommodate you!

During the struggle in Detroit, the Newspaper Guild, the Typographers, the Teamsters and the Graphic Communicators all received much spiritual and specific help from trade unionists in England and elsewhere.

It would be our pleasure to repay in kind.

In solidarity

Power to you and your members. In fighting for yourself, you are fighting for all of us. Good luck.

Best wishes for your union action against Newsquest!! Your actions are noticed on this side of the Atlantic, where we have had so many struggles against Gannett.

Stay strong

In Solidarity

The 300 members of The Newspaper Guild-CWA of Albany, New York, USA wish you well in your strike action for higher pay. We are also sending a message of support for you to Paul Davidson, as TNG International President Linda Foley requested. You have our best wishes for success.

Dear Mr Davidson,

I urge you to do the right thing by your workers at Newsquest in Bradford. Strikes help nobody.

Consider giving a decent raise in pay and then forge an alliance with your work force to benefit your newspaper.

The model should be co-operation and mutual interests, not conflict to preserve profits. Sincerely,

Please let our Brothers and Sisters that you represent know that my voice is with theirs! It is a difficult struggle to fight for that which should be a simple human decency, to earn a wage that is commensurate with one's level of experience.

An early lesson we have all learned in Unionism is that an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

Know that I and my fellow unionists on this side of the pond support you and your efforts. Keep up the battle and stay warm knowing that we are with you there in spirit if not in body!

I've attached a copy of an e-mail I sent to Davidson. I thought you might like to see what I had to say. I alone will not make a change, my voice with others may help turn the tide. I hope that they will!

In solidarity

Dear Paul Davidson,

We have learned with great sympathy that the management of Gannet/Newsquest has asked the NUJ for talks on the dispute regarding pay at the newspaper Newsquest in Bradford. The decision by journalists to strike has certainly not been easy, but keeping in mind, that journalists working at Newsquest in Bradford earn on average 20 percent less than the official UK average wage and underlines, these news were hardly surprising. However, comedia, the media union of Switzerland, is confident that the negotiations between management and staff will lead to an acceptable agreement for both sides.

We urge you take account of other European standards, which are by far higher, when you discuss pay as well as the need for an extra day's holiday, and improved sick pay. I am sure that you are as interested as we are in raising and not falling standards of quality in journalism.

With Kind Regards

Great to hear that the strike is pushing management into concessions. Keep up the good work.


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