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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Brighton & Hove Argus Journalists Strike for 2 Days

As the Gannett Foundation Takes Takes Its Profits, Journalists Take a Pay Freeze
First Ever Strike by Argus Journalists Against Gannett Corporation & Newsquest
For the first time in living memory (or at least as far as I can remember!) journalists at the Argus have gone on strike for 2 days. Six journalists have been sacked in Brighton and the production process has been transferred on bloc to Southampton with a ghost newsroom left in Brighton.

The Argus itself, which used to be based in the centre of Brighton in Robert Street, has been transferred to an out of town site in Hollingbury, adjacent to an ASDA superstore and situated alongside the Brighton by-pass.

I arrived at around mid-day to greet a large picket outside the Argus offices. No one went inside whilst I was there, approximately half an hour and the building seemed to be closed to all comers. A scab paper had been produced but without many of the usual short stories and features. As I arrived local MP Caroline Lucas was about to depart, though I’m told this was a coincidence!

What took me by surprise was the depth of support from local shoppers and the drivers of heavy goods delivery vehicles for the dispute. About half of them if not more were honking in support and not a solitary member of the local Hollingbury Police Station, which acts as a holding centre, was present. With the sun shining on us it was a very pleasant half an hour I spent chatting to all those reporters I could at last put a face to!
Such is the depth of support that even Brighton & Hove's Conservative MPs, plus Mr Privatisation himself, New Labour's Lord Bassam, have come out in its support.

Tony Greenstein






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