Some 200 NoW journalists have lost their jobs after the last edition of the newspaper went out on Sunday 10 July 2011. Sub-editors at sister tabloid The Sun walked out last week in protest. Affected journalists have been told they will receive a 90-day payment to cover the legally-required consultation period of job cuts.
But the NUJ’s general secretary Michelle Stanistreet reacted angrily to the move. “This outrageous manipulation of the legal right to be consulted on redundancies shows the contempt that the Murdoch empire has for its loyal staff. True to form, he believes he can buy his way out of his obligations.”
The pay-out was simply an “act of damage limitation” to try and salvage his own reputation and that of News International, both of which were “now tarnished beyond repair”, she added.
The NoW, which has been running for 168 years and was bought by Murdoch in 1969, will carry no commercial advertising on Sunday in the wake of the scandal, which resulted in organisation after organisation pulling their business in a bid not to be tainted by it.
It is expected to be replaced by a Sunday version of The Sun after News International registered the internet domain names TheSunOnSunday.co.uk, TheSunOnSunday.com and SunOnSunday.co.uk two days ago.
But Stanistreet said: “Closing the title and sacking over 200 staff in the UK and Ireland, and putting scores more freelancers and casuals out of a job, is an act of utter cynical opportunism. Murdoch is clearly banking on his drawing a line under the scandal, removing an obstacle to the BSkyB deal, and letting his senior executives off the hook. That simply won’t wash.”
Although “ordinary working journalists” were paying the price for the actions of senior managers, it was not they who were responsible for today’s situation. Those people were still in a job, she added.