Northcliffe over the edge

THE ANTICIPATED carnage has begun in earnest now at the two Bristol Northcliffe titles, the Western Daily Press and the Bristol Evening Post. As desks merge across the two papers, redundancies begin to bite, and staff try to navigate a plethora of shifting conditions and uncertainties, what's happening to the freelances?

Working closely with the NUJ Chapels at the papers, Bristol Branch have identified and contacted more than 70 freelances working for the two titles, who with the support and guidance of the Freelance Office have begun to organise a response.

Two meetings and months of e{mail correspondence have resulted in a letter to management signed by 50 freelances, requesting a meeting to discuss the urgent matters of fees (currently variable across both papers and all sectors), terms and rights. The Chapels are also aiming to include freelances in this year's pay claim, although that process is itself proving problematic in the context of sudden new contracts and equally sudden redundancies.

We await a response to the letter from management, before deciding what next to do.

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