Blog Post

Guardian’s Multi-Platform Growing Pains; Staff Agree Strike Ballot

Guardian journalists have voted to table a strike ballot and step up disagreements with management over pay and working conditions as the publisher expands. The paper itself reported a 180-strong majority of its National Union of Journalists chapel members voted to enter formal dispute proceedings with bosses at Farringdon Road: “Matters in dispute include shift patterns, the length of the working week, the availability of journalists to work across print and internet, the proposed replacement of the no compulsory redundancies clause and the implementation of a single house agreement to cover journalists on the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Unlimited website.”

Strategy: This poses a challenge from staff to The Guardian’s newsroom integration and multi-platform operation plans – staff feel they are being stretched to do more, but with no pay raise above inflation. The company is in the middle of an 18-month plan to shift from 16-hour-day staffing to 24/7 rolling news, involving the loss of some jobs in existing areas and the supposed creation of around a 100 new digital posts (more likely, many of the “new” posts will require staff working across online and print). The plans involve working around the NUJ’s belief staff are entitled to work no more than nine days in a fortnight (according to this previous Brand Republic article).

Integration: In an interview with paidContent:UK, Guardian Media Group CEO Carolyn McCall this month said editorial budget must be shared between online and print properties and The Guardian would have an integrated newsroom at its new King’s Cross HQ next year, but: “It