Wednesday, November 23

Fight for our BBC

NUJ/BECTU Joint lobby of Parliament Tuesday 6th December
Preparations are underway for a joint union lobby of Parliament on Tuesday 6 December. A day of events in Committee Room 14 will bring union members together (2:oo - 3:oo pm) ahead of a lobby of MPs (3:00 - 5:00 pm) and will conclude with a public meeting with keynote speakers from 6:30pm. More details to follow.

Take part in the BBC public consultation and tell your colleagues, family and friends to do the same. The consultation closes on 21st December. The more people we can get to tell the BBC not to implement the cuts, the better chance we have to save BBC jobs and public service broadcasting at the BBC.

BBC Trust Online Consultation - BBC Local Radio & BBC Asian Network

BBC Local Radio: Service Review Consultation
BBC Local Radio should deliver up-to-the minute, accurate, impartial and independent news, analysis and insight. It should provide fast and comprehensive coverage of local, UK and international events as they unfold and specialist analysis to put the news in context.

The Trust has issued a service licence for BBC Local Radio which sets out what each station is expected to achieve. We want to find out how well you think that BBC Local Radio is meeting these expectations?

There are eight questions, please answer as many or as few as your wish.

Give Us Your Views - Online consultation

BBC Asian Network: Service Review Consultation
The BBC Asian Network's remit is to provide speech and music output appealing to British Asians, with a strong focus on news and current affairs. It should be primarily in English, but some programming should be provided in a range of South Asian languages.

The Trust has issued a service licence for the Asian Network which sets out what the station is expected to achieve. We want to find out how well you think that the station is meeting these expectations?

There are 6 questions, please answer as many or as few as your wish.
Give Us Your Views - Online consultation

Monday, November 21

Trinity Mirror savage midlands local papers

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary (pictured above) said: “Trinity Mirror has again taken the sledgehammer approach to local news provision. It is wrong for the company to continue to make profits and pay shareholders whilst the public and journalists face dire newspaper closures and job cuts. The decision to axe titles leaves the local community with only one remaining rival paper. The company have trampled on quality journalism, media plurality and the citizens right to know.”
Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands Organiser delivered the wreath which included the message "Chase Post, Sutton News & Stafford Post R.I.P under Trinity Mirror".  Members of the NUJ branch carried posters saying "Chase a buyer Trinity Mirror", "No! to Closure","Save Our Papers" and "Post Haste to Sale".
TheNUJ had called on Trinity Mirror to seek a buyer for the papers.

Chris Morley said: "Although we have laid this wreath, the NUJ does not believe these papers have to die. Trinity Mirror claims to have searched for a buyer, but has not been open about its efforts. It has an obligation by law to try to eliminate or reduce the number of redundancies the closure of these titles will bring about and one obvious way of doing that would be to actively seek a buyer.
“If it is serious about finding a new owner, Trinity Mirror should consider giving away the titles to any credible local investors with a clear interest in keeping them as the valuable community asset that they are. The group reaped the profits from these papers over the past ten years and should now be responsible to the community who provided those profits.
“The closure of these titles was announced in the same week that the new Localism Act was passed. As a union, we will be looking hard to see if this new Act’s provision for forcing companies to allow time for community groups to organise a bid to take over threatened local "assets of community value", could be adopted to save threatened local papers.”

Funeral Demo 18th Nov 2011 attended by Members (Tom Reed, Tony Collins and Martin Warrillow) who were made redundant by Trinity Mirror with Northern Organizer Chris Morley and Chris Youett held at the offices of the Chase Post marking its closure the dedication on the Birmingham & Coventry wreath reads: Chase Post, Sutton News and Stafford Post RIP under Trinity Mirror

Sunday, November 20

November branch meeting details

The next branch meeting will be held on Tuesday 22nd November 2011

Meet 6:00 pm for 6:30 start

Old Windmill pub
Spon Street

Light refreshments will be served

1) Introduction by chair/those attending
2) Minutes of March meeting
3) Secretary/Treasurers reports
4) Branch reports
5) Up date on BBC dispute
6) Branch public meeting on cuts @ BBC/December in B'ham 08/12/11
6) Any other business

Friday, November 18

“Crisis in Midlands Journalism”

Public Meeting - “Crisis in Midlands Journalism”6.30-9.30pm Thursday, December 8
Committee Rooms, Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square

Speaker: NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet (pictured, above)
The Murdochs have dragged journalism’s reputation into the gutter nationally, but in the Midlands other dangerous attacks on the profession are taking place.

Trinity Mirror has put a dagger through the heart of its Midlands operations with news of scores of job cuts at its titles, including making all of its photographers in the region redundant and axing the 140-year-old Sutton Coldfield News.

National Union of Journalists members at the BBC’s Mailbox centre and Radio Coventry and Warwickshire are braced for around 100 editorial job cuts, as part of 2,000 demanded nationally because of the politically-driven short-changing of the Licence Fee settlement.

When these are combined with savage restructurings that have already taken place at ITV Central News, all the commercial radio stations and other local newspapers, we have a perfect storm not only for journalism, but democratic scrutiny in our communities.

Birmingham & Coventry NUJ Branch has called this debate to highlight the urgent peril to the West Midlands. Join us on the night to show your support for quality journalism.

Thursday, November 17

Protest over BBC Birmingham factual programming Bristol move
More than 100 people have protested in Birmingham over plans to move BBC national factual programme-making from the city to Bristol. The Chamberlain Square event was held over plans which the BBC has said would affect more than 100 Birmingham posts. One protest organiser, Oliver Clark, said they wanted "to take the story" into the centre as it was important for the area that "the BBC stays here". (More)

Public Meeting - "Crisis in Midlands Journalism"
6.30-9.30pm Thursday, December 8
Committee Rooms, Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square
Speaker NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet

Don't close popular Midlands papers - Sell them
The National Union of Journalists is calling on publishing giant Trinity Mirror to put three popular Midlands papers up for sale instead of closing them.

NUJ negotiator Lawrence Shaw said: "The only beneficiary of these closures is the Northcliffe group, the papers' rival in this area. It makes no sense to journalists to shut down popular papers that are full of adverts. That is why we believe the Trinity Mirror management must have an ulterior motive for the closures, which it is not revealing. We will be asking for answers and the chance for these paper to continue to serve their local communities."

Tuesday, November 15

A Bleak Festive Season ahead for West Midlands Journalists

Yesterday Trinity Mirror announced 66 job losses and the immediate closure of three local papers, The Chase Post, The Stafford Post and the Sutton News, with more redundancies at the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post, Coventry Telegraph, Coventry Times and Hinckley Times.

Coventry Telegraph will be left with only one photographer, four at present, one general news and one sports posts will also go.

Hinkley Times, will have no photographer or full time reporters at all, copy will come from freelancer's.

A reliable source say that Trinity Mirror intend to further cut costs and posts by inviting the public to contribute stories to online editions, with a target of 40% of content in the next two years

Trinity Mirror also announced it would be changing work practices with the introduction of a Regional production hub and features unit. Which can only be interpreted as journalists working on several newsprint editions rather than one. When the hub is set up, staff will have to move to the hub or lose their jobs. There will be no more specialist reporters.

All in all, with these cuts and cuts in regional BBC staff, it is a pretty bleak picture for NUJ members in the region.

Above cuts will be discussed at the NUJ Branch Meeting on Tuesday 22nd November, Old Windmill pub, Spon Street, Coventry, CVl 3BA, start time 18:30 hrs.


Chris Morley NUJ Northern & Midlands Organiser, asked to comment on the proposed cuts said:

"The Birmingham Trinity Mirror chapel will be holding a meeting midday today, to discuss its reaction to yesterdays news - the timing of which I believe is deeply cynical.

"Trinity Mirror normally picks a Friday afternoon to make these announcements - the end of the working week so there would be little disruption even if people do get uppity. And of course the trade press is likely to miss it and even if they do pick up the story before they go, few journalists will ever give it their full attention when they are thinking of the weekend.

"This time of course it was a Monday afternoon when two major news stories in industry were well known in advance - the start of the Leveson enquiry and the Society of Editors' annual meeting. In other words, a good day for Trinity Mirror to bury their bad news.

"I think this sets the tone for what is an incredibly intellectually poverty-stricken scheme to make its Midlands operations pay its levy to the £25 million cuts demanded by Sly Bailey in July.

"The company has said this is to give the titles a "sustainable future". Of course we all remember them saying this in 2009, and 2008 before that, to justify the loss of more than 100 Trinity Mirror journalist jobs from the Midlands. But few people are going to swallow this line when grand old titles such as the Sutton Coldfield News are sacrificed.

"We must see the wider picture of the attack on journalism in the West Midlands and the need for the NUJ to link the job losses already carried out in the last three years, and those new cuts now planned to take place in just 30 days, to those that have already happened at Central News, the Wolverhampton Express & Star and all the commercial radio stations. We now especially have to ally the journalists at Trinity Mirror Midlands with their colleagues at the BBC where the other major axe is to fall on around 100 editorial posts in the region. This is not just about jobs (although that is uppermost in our focus) but also the sort of democratic community we want to live in.

The NUJ will support and fight for its members through this horrendous time but we have to be prepared to stand up now to show this nihilism is not the answer to current problems - and certainly is not the future for our profession.

We can make a start in convincing the public at the Birmingham & Coventry Branch open meeting 'Crisis in Midlands Journalism' from 6.30pm on Thursday, December 8 at Birmingham Council House. Let's make this a centrepiece for our resistance.

Chris Morley
Northern & Midlands Organiser
Birmingham & Coventry branch member

Friday, November 4

Opposing Cuts @ the BBC, persuade your MP to sign EDM 2373

Early day motion 2373: BBC West Midlands
That this House is concerned at the BBC's plans to transfer much of its work away from Birmingham; believes that this will have a damaging effect on the life and economy of the West Midlands; notes the impact of the loss of over 150 skilled positions, mainly in production, post-production and other skilled work, affecting the entire Midlands digital media industry and the area's freelancers;

further notes that the BBC's current plans will mean there will be virtually no network television made in the West Midlands and productions such as Countryfile, Coast, Hairy Bikers and Points of View will no longer be produced in Birmingham;

further believes that this damage will become irreversible as the region will no longer be able to attract the media companies and skilled workers that form the basis of this viable economy; further believesthat investment in media production across the region's universities and colleges will prove to be redundant;

and calls on the BBC to reconsider its proposals and maintain television and radio production in Birmingham.


Richard Burden, Labour Party Birmingham Northfield
Roger Godsiff, Labour Party Birmingham Hall Green
Khalid Mahmood, Labour Party Birmingham Perry Barr
Steve McCabe, Labour Party Birmingham Selly Oak
Geoffrey Robinson, Labour Party Coventry North West
Gisela Stuart, Labour Party Birmingham Edgbaston
David Wright, Labour Party Telford

<>Date tabled: 03/11/2011

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 2373
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

Thursday, November 3

UNISON members vote yes in pensions strike ballot

Members of UNISON, the UK’s largest union, have today voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to protect their pensions.

The union balloted members including nurses, teaching assistants, social workers, care assistants, paramedics, police staff, school dinner ladies, probation workers and cleaners.

Overall: Yes: 245,358

No: 70,253


Local Government (Including Scotland)
Yes 171,428
No 54,500
76% in favour – Turnout 30%

NHS (including Scotland)
Yes 73,930 No 15,753
82% in favour – Turnout 25%

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON said:
“The decisive yes vote in the ballot, reflects the deep concern that our members have over Government ministers’ proposals for their pensions. “Yesterday’s statement in Parliament was a marked improvement on earlier proposals.
“But, it is important to understand that the statement has to be translated into offers in the scheme specific talks. We still have had no offer in those negotiations, where such an offer can legitimately be made.
“We support the TUC day of action on 30 November, but will be negotiating right up to then and beyond to get a fair deal for our members.” Senior lay officials of the union are meeting throughout the afternoon to discuss the latest Government statement on pensions and to decide what action to take as a result of the strike ballot.