I’ve spoken to four former News of the World journalists in the last week. To say they are not happy with the senior management of News International is an understatement. Here is a an email I received from one of them. Needless to say he wishes to remain anonymous for fear of ‘retribution’. I’m familiar with that feeling so I’ll respect his wishes. I’ve slightly amended the words in one sentence in order to avoid potential contempt of court/libel allegations.
I am a News of the World journalist and, in view of today’s revelations about payments to Andy Coulson, feel compelled by ever-increasing rage to draw your attention to the fact that, even while News International is under intense scrutiny for its illegal activities, the company is playing fast and loose with employment law to avoid paying fair severance to many, many innocent people; people like me who had no knowledge of hacking but who can wave goodbye to their careers because of it. In brief, News International is using ’employment status’ to dodge paying everyone the four weeks contractual severance. For some this means losing almost half their entitlement and for others it means being cast adrift without a penny. These are people who played a major part in the production of the paper, people who held titles for years and worked exclusively for the News of the World. It is sickening that the people who are suffering most because of the behaviour of others are being treated so shabbily! Andy Coulson left with hundreds of thousands of pounds, a free car and private health care. The people who turned up to work hellish hours to produce his paper, in ignorance of how the content was gathered, get nothing. You have to ask, where’s the justice?”
No doubt the staff association at News International will be doing as good a job at representing their members as the NUJ would in these circumstances.