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Summer of union discontent triggers rescue of Tribune

LONDON - Left of New Labour magazine Tribune has been rescued by a £300,000 cash injection from trades unions, following a summer of discontent with postal worker, firefighter and train driver strikes.

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Last year, the magazine appeared to be in so much financial trouble that it considered being sold, which would have meant giving up its independent status.

However, this was kept at bay as interest in the title resurged along with increasing unrest among left-wing trades unions, such as the Fire Brigades Union and the train drivers' union the RMT.

Last November, it was reported that a number of unions would fund a £270,000 rescue package for the magazine, drawn up by editor Mark Seddon and chairman Peter Kilfoyle.

A final deal hammered out between the paper and unions has resulted in Unison, Amicus, the RMT, Aslef and the ISTC injecting £300,000 into the title in return for a 51% stake.

It is hoped the Transport & General, the GMB and FBU will also join the consortium.

John Moores, Littlewoods football pools magnate will pay £100,000 for a further 15% stake and another 34% stake will be held in trust on behalf of the staff.

The deal is expected to secure the magazine's future for another 100 years. This will no doubt irritate Tony Blair's New Labour, which Tribune is highly critical of.

The magazine has counted NHS founder Aneurin Bevan, George Orwell and former Labour leader Michael Foot among its editors and writers.

It was founded 66 years ago to support anti-fascists during the Spanish Civil War.

It was relaunched in April 2001 from a newspaper format to a magazine similar to the New Statesman. However, the revamp failed to boost sales.

The extent of the paper's financial woes became apparent last year when cut its permanent staff's salaries to a reported £15,000, and stopped paying contributors. It then started looking at ways of boosting its coffers and even considered a sale.

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