29 October 2004

MEN make peace

The planned two-day strike by journalists at the Manchester Evening News is off after the chapel voted to accept a package of management proposals to ease the introduction of a new morning paper.

Management agreed to work to ensure that the minimum number of journalists currently employed by the paper will have to work late or on Sundays.

Twelve new staff will be taken on to work the new shifts. These are not new jobs but involve the filling of four vacancies and replacing eight journalists who want to leave and are being offered severance packages of four weeks pay for every year of service.

The management will seek to fill all the vacancies within two months.

The dinner allowance will be increased from £11.37 to £15.00 and paid to those rostered to work to 7pm on weekdays and 6pm on Sundays. Previously staff had to work past 7.30pm to claim the allowance. This could mean a £75 allowance each week for new staff working late every day.

A management/union review process will be set up to monitor the way the new rotas are working.

Rotas will be published at least one month in advance.

The company will give "careful consideration" to cases put forward by the chapel of members who are unable to work the shifts because of personal difficulties.

Once the new staff have been taken on chapel members should only cover for sickness and holidays. The last person to have worked the new shifts in each department will go to the bottom of the list for stand-ins. The management have said this should mean only one current employee per day working the new shifts.

Departmental overtime records will be kept and will be open to inspection by the chapel. People who work extra hours will be compensated.

The package was agreed - by a narrow majority - at a chapel meeting on Friday afternoon.


To everyone who sent messages of support and emailed the company to protest.

MEN at war

NUJ members at the Manchester Evening News were at the time of writing due to have struck for two days - starting on Halloween - in protest at management plans to force through changes to their working patterns and practices. If you are offered work by the MEN, please check www. londonfreelance.org for updates: the Chapel would of course appreciate it if freelances found themselves to be unavailable on strike days, and can offer support to any who suffer hardship while being unavailable.

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