The NUJ chapel at Trinity Mirror Group's local papers in Enfield has agreed to call off strike action over redundancies, after negotiating an improved deal on working conditions that included a pay-off for casual sub-editors whose jobs were lost in a company restructuring.
Staff on the Enfield Gazette, Enfield Advertiser, Barnet Press and Haringey Advertiser titles voted overwhelmingly to strike after Trinity Mirror announced that it was to shift its subbing operation to the company's offices in Uxbridge, with the loss of one permanent and three casual subs' jobs and one reporter's post.
The chapel held a one-day strike in the second week of January and voted for a further three-day walkout the following week - before being forced to postpone that action after the company obtained a last-minute injunction on a technicality. After a reballot produced another unanimous strike vote, the chapel and Trinity Mirror reached a deal that, while failing to stop job losses, included a national agreement on future staffing levels, regular meetings and compensation for journalists who work extra hours.
The chapel also managed to negotiate pay-offs for two of the paper's regular freelance subs. The third relocated to Uxbridge.
While discontent remains over the job losses and the daft centralisation of subbing (the sort of "streamlining" that almost invariably affects standards and the smooth running of newsdesks), Father of Chapel Jonathan Lovett said staff felt emboldened by having "laid down a marker" to management for the future. It's pleasing, too, that staff did their best to fight for casual subs whose jobs were tossed aside.