Online only; updated 22/08/20

25 September 2020

The dispute was resolved by securing changes at work.

Solidarity with staff at Bullivant Media

NUJ MEMBERS working at Midlands local newspaper publisher Bullivant Media have announced two 48-hour strikes in response to up to five compulsory redundancies.

The union has formally notified the company that the action is planned to take place on Tuesday 25 August until Wednesday 26 August. The second date for action is Tuesday 1 September until Wednesday 2 September.

The union is calling on the Bullivant family to put a stop to the compulsory redundancies and resolve the dispute.

The Freelance notes that freelances cannot, in law strike: but we would not be surprised if any freelance called upon to work for Bullivant on these dates found themselves to be unavailable.

And if you as a freelance suffer hardship while being unavailable, please contact the Chapel, care of the Freelance if need be.

Titles owned by Bullivant include:

  • Arden Observer
  • Bromsgrove Standard
  • Coventry Observer
  • Droitwich Standard
  • Evesham Observer
  • Leamington Observer
  • Lutterworth Observer
  • Malvern Observer
  • Pershore Observer
  • Redditch Standard
  • Rugby Observer
  • Shirley Observer
  • Solihull Observer
  • Stratford Observer
  • Worcester Observer

The union is also calling for financial support for the strikers as many of those involved are paid just over the national minimum wage. Supporters can donate to the strike hardship fund:

Sort code: 60-83-01
Account number: 20049274
Account name: NUJ Manchester
Please reference the donation as: "Bullivant strike"

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands senior organiser, said: "The company has laid out plans to dismiss up to five members through redundancies.

"We are clear that the proposals drawn up do not make any rational sense and have the effect of targeting leading members of the newly-formed chapel in clear breach of the law.

"The chapel is united against these plans and in supporting its members put under the shadow of compulsory redundancy. Members have committed themselves reluctantly but with determination to taking two periods of 48-hour strike action. We want the board to see sense and to cooperate with the chapel in finding appropriate ways to help the business navigate its way back to prosperity.

"What is equally important however is for the Bullivant family to recognise that it is inappropriate for family members to now be playing at journalism to the detriment of a hard-won reputation by its journalists for quality reporting with all the risks that this brings to the business."

22 August 2020

Today the NUJ London Freelance Committee issued a statement in support of the strike:

It's great that the fight goes on against the sharks still savaging local papers. On 20 August we were told that at least 265 have closed in the last 15 years, but still the owners are trying to wring money out of those that are left.

As the big groups have pocketed huge profits, sacked their journalists and bled local papers till they couldn't bleed any more, smaller firms have moved in to scrape the last flesh from the bones.

Local papers and websites shouldn't be owned by commercial companies any more. They should be run by local journalists or community groups to provide the vital news service that local people need.

Lots of websites are, but they haven't got the resources to break into the market.

Journalists are fighting for their jobs on these titles because they want to provide the service but not to slave endlessly for owners who pay starvation wages or none at all.

The whole union should support the Bullivant journalists who are struggling for the survival of their trade. We are all behind them.