Support for the strike at the Independent and Independent on Sunday

These messages of support have been received so far. You can send yours to


18 June 2002

Herts & Essex newspapers

We are writing to give our support to your campaign for a fair deal in this year's pay round. We understand that management wish to implement a pay freeze, which we see as totally ludicrous during a period in which the cost of living in London has risen phenomenally, particularly house prices.

We ourselves [were] due to go on strike for three days next week - we have 90 per cent plus union membership - in our fight to increase a 2.7 percent rise or £500 and also for better benefits and conditions. Our graduate trainees start on a poverty wage of £12,500 p.a. and I understand yours only get £15,000 - impossible to live on in London, I should imagine. We wish you the very best of luck and hope that you will reciprocate.


18 June 2002

Johnston Press Spalding

We, at Spalding, are fully behind you. I have just returned from the picket line on the first day of a ten-day strike (we've completed two five-day strikes). We will be extending it as we have returned to work between strikes in the hope management will resume talks but have simply been treated with contempt and hounded by the editor to do extra work - even though we were working to contract.

So I'm galvanising the troops to vote against going back to work until management learns the meaning of negotiation.

It's going to be a long haul but, above all, we must stay united. If we back down now then all our efforts will be wasted and we'll be no better, if not worse, off.

Stand firm at the Independent and we really hope you win through much more quickly than us.

Forgive us, but we aren't in a position to donate to your fighting fund while our dispute continues (we're doing our best to ensure striking journalists don't lose out on pay).

We will, however, be delighted to make a donation if our situation is resolved before your own.


19 June 2002

EMAP Healthcare

All the best for your industrial action on Thursday and for victory in your pay campaign. A good victory at the Indie will be a boost for the pay campaigns spreading across the NUJ and an inspiration for those still battling for union recognition.

At EMAP Healthcare and Public Sector Management magazines, we have voted to ballot for industrial action if management do not substantially improve their pay offer - like you, we are in our first pay campaign since winning union recognition. We'll be keeping a close eye on your fight too!


19 June 2002

Belfast Telegraph

On behalf of the BTN Chapel, I would like to offer The Independent Chapel the full support of journalists at Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life,Ireland's Saturday Night and Community Telegraphs. I expect a result from our strike ballot next week. The BTN GPMU Chapel has today informed the company of its intention to ballot for strike action. Our dispute has generated a considerable degree of interest in the media in the Irish Republic where IN&M is by far the dominant player.


19 June 2002

Greater Manchester Weekly Newspapers

I take it lots of your members will already know of our success, even if they are not aware of the whole story.

Make it the biggest shock you can. Our bosses thought the dispute was the NUJ grandstanding. On a Tuesday, we were picketing the Heywood office. The bosses, one of whom we had never seen before, came to talk to us. They told us we would get nowhere by striking. One of our members replied that we had already got somewhere as he had never spoken to us before.

He also told us flat that there was no way back to the negotiating table until we called off the strike. I simply told him he would have to do better than that. Talks had got us nowhere in five months and we had been derecognised. We were not calling it off in a weaker position.

We stepped up our campaign by demonstrating at the Manchester Evening News [owned, like the company we were in dispute with, by Guardian Media Group] the day after. That day, 24 hours after saying they would not talk until we backed down, they came up with a new wage structure. After a few more days of bargaining, we settled.

It will go up and down for you but remember they are living off your work. Nobody is saying they haven't worked hard in their lives but if it has reached the point at which sane and reasonable men and women have to withdraw their labour because they have had enough, then compromise on their part is due.

Those who are not on strike with you will not lose financially but they will probably lose all of your respect. Your self respect, respect for each other and solidarity will grow. You can look in the mirror. Enjoy it, because you will tell your grandchildren about this one.


Newsquest Bradford & area

20 June 2002

A question to ask your chapel is what other options do they have to get wages up?

Strike, and you will hopefully get more money (you might not - that's the gamble.) But do nothing and you'll definitely not get more money. And you'll fall even further behind others (the Guardian have just won inflation plus 0.5 per cent, plus other concessions related to their website).

I can imagine it's a scary time for your chapel. It was scary for us too. At Bradford everyone took a gigantic leap of faith in deciding to go on strike (even though all we did was half a day). We didn't know how the management would react or what on earth would happen next. But the lesson learned from Bradford and in fact all the actions so far, is that industrial action = more money. Our only regret at Bradford was that we didn't push harder. Arguably we should have done.


19 June 2002


Congratulations on your action and best wishes for your fight, from NUJ and GPMU members at CMPinformation - part of Lord Hollick's United Business Media empire - in Docklands. We hope to derive more than vicarious pleasure from your success, as we have suffered a pay freeze this year following 200 redundancies at Christmas. Your action shows we don't have to take it. The newspaper and magazine bosses have had it their own way for too long. We pledge to organise support for whatever action you take in the future.


19 June 2002

Reed staff

A meeting of 30 editorial staff at New Scientist and the Estates Gazette - publications owned by Reed Business Information - yesterday unimously agreed to send support to your action at the Independent. All agreed that your battle over pay and conditions was highly important, not just for pay levels on national newspapers, but for every sector of the industry, including our own magazine sector.

Ever since derecognition 10 years ago, our employers have kept pay levels low, and productivity high. The gap between the highest and lowest paid worker has widened considerably.

Our confidence to begin campaigning for this to change has already been strengthened by the victories against low pay scored by our colleagues in Bradford, Greater Manchester and elsewhere. They will be heightened even more by a victory at the Independent.

16 June 2002

London Freelance Branch

All the best with your first step into industrial action since re-recognition. Indie pay rates are rancid for staff and freelances and weve got to start getting them realistic.

London Freelance Branch passed a motion of support for your campaign last Monday and well do everything we can to keep freelances informed and backing you.


17 June 2002

London Magazine Branch

All the best for the launch of your dispute on Thursday. Victorious strikes in the provincial press at Bradford, Manchester and elsewhere, have already begun to win back for journalists proper rates of pay and conditions. Action at the Express&Star over pay also shows you are by no means alone in seeing the need to organise for industrial action against employers in the national press.

After more than 10 years of employers using union derecognition to push down pay and force through major productivity drives, journalists, and printers too, are beginning to return to the only form of action that can turn things around - industrial action involving as many editorial staff as possible.


21 June 2002

Northern Ireland Broadcasting Branch

At a meeting in Belfast tonight of the Northern Ireland Broadcasting Branch, the committee decided to send its support to your chapel and to pass on their best wishes. We will also be watching the situation at the Belfast Telegraph closely and will offer whatever solidarity we can to our colleagues there.

Individual members

As a freelance photographer in Plymouth I will support you 100%


Will make sure I don't trouble you with any copy during the action. Good luck,


All the best to London colleagues in your little local difficulty. Hold firm. It can be done. In Glasgow, we almost beat Maxwell at the height of what we thought was his power. Only a traitor defeated us. Beware of Thatcher's Children.


All the best for your campaign for decent pay. As a freelance, I don't do any work for the Indy, but usually have a trawl through it in the course of my morning 'newsbeat' - as a token of solidarity, I'll make sure I don't even do that on days when my fellow union members will not have contributed!


Count me in for a day of unavailablity

Other unions, etc

20 June 2002

Tower Hamlets Unison

On behalf of Unison members in Tower Hamlets Council I extend our congratulations to you on the action you are taking and our solidarity with you. I know that some of your members recently joined our picket lines to support our strikes action over London Weighting. NUJ members in our council were also part of our strike. We feel there is a growing mood for unity across trade unions because so many of the problems we face are common to us all. Please keep us informed of any support we can offer to your struggle and we look forward to working together to build mutual solidarity.


London Guildhall Unison

20 June 2002

I wish you best wishes and success for your action. Low pay is also a major problem for workers in higher education and we hope to be taking action ourselves soon. If there is anything we can do let us know. Keep up your struggle until you win!


20 June 2002

Royal London Hospital Unison

As low paid workers in East London we in the NHS recognise the need to fight over this issues wherever it occurs. We wholeheartedly support your action and wish you every success in your fight. Keep us informed of how your fight develops, and if there is any help or solidarity we can offer let us know.


20 June 2002

On behalf of Tower Hamlets Socialist Alliance may I offer you our solidarit in your struggle to win a decent pay rise. For too many people in this area low pay is a scourge. Everyone who makes a stand against low pay and wins helps all of those other workers facing the same battle. As everywhere your bosses are making millions yet refusing to pay you the wages your deserve and need. We hope your struggle is succesful. If you need any further solidarity or help do not hesitate to ask.

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