3 November 2011


The following statement has just been published on the Tribune website:

Tribune fights on: co-op structure staves off closure

In a last-minute deal to stave off closure in its 75th year, staff, management and the National Union of Journalists have agreed a plan which switches ownership to a co-operative model from next week.

The move will allow continuity of publication and a different form of funding with more direct reader involvement. It follows talks in which owner Kevin McGrath agreed to release the title debt-free, granting Tribune a viability which had been threatened by the build up of historical debt, responsibility for the discharge of which has been accepted by Mr McGrath.

Terms for a transfer of ownership of the title were agreed during the tripartite talks after Tribune staff met with advisers on the creation and structure of co-operatives and agreed in principle this would be the best route to pursue, provided the right conditions applied to the transfer of ownership to the new company. Mr McGrath subsequently agreed to positively assist in giving the new venture a fresh start and successful future.

The change comes after a substantial cash injection failed to raise subscriptions and income to target levels and it was agreed by all parties that the title would stand a better chance under a co-operative model.

Final details of the model are being worked out in conjunction with Tribune’s advisers at Principle Six and Co-operatives UK but will involve readers as shareholders and democratic participants in future.

In the meantime, we are appealing for help with short-term funding to bridge the start- up gap until the new structure is up and running (cheques payable to Tribune at 218 Woodberry, Green Lanes, London N4 2HB). Donations will be registered as a formal interest under the new structure.

Mr McGrath said: “I am very pleased to be able to pass Tribune on to the staff in a workers co operative which I fully support and urge everyone in the labour and trade union movement to support the magazine under its new ownership. It has been an honour to have been involved in keeping Tribune going and I am delighted that the history and heritage of Tribune has been safeguarded in the digitising of the whole 75 year archive which is a proud achievement.

“Importantly, I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to the staff, our contributors and the readers for their continued and invaluable support over the past three years.”

The need for Tribune, with its mix of news, analysis, revelation and debate, has never been greater than under the present political climate. This is an exciting step, a co-operative is the right place for Tribune to be. It is a challenge, too, one which we hope you, the reader will join us in facing.

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