Brighton and Southampton journalists to strike again

(Image of Argus staff on strike courtesy of Rob James)

Journalists working for Newsquest on Southampton’s Southern Daily Echo and the Brighton Argus are to strike next week over job losses and an ongoing pay freeze.

National Union of Journalists chapels at the two papers have voted to stage a 48-hour walkout next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Union members at the Southern Daily Echo – who make up 75 per cent of the editorial workforce – are to resume strike action after a previous two-day walkout last month over Newsquest’s ongoing pay freeze and refusal to pay individual loyalty payments.

The Southampton chapel issued a statement last night claiming the second walkout was called after a meeting with management yesterday ended with no new offer being made to staff.

‘Staff at the paper have had a pay freeze since July 2008, despite a senior executive being given a 21.5 per cent pay rise and the company announcing pre-tax profits of £88.5m,’the statement said.

‘The paper’s final salary pension scheme will also close on March 31 next year; it was announced earlier this month.

‘Two further days of action, which were set to take place on November 16 and 17, were cancelled by the union in the hope of reaching an agreement with management to avoid further action.

‘However, although management agreed to a meeting, before it had taken place, the paper’s editor Ian Murray stated that pay and pensions would not be up for discussion.

‘During the meeting, management revealed that they had had no expectation that the NUJ would be able to put forward any suggestions for the dispute that they would agree to.”

Journalists at the Brighton Argus are set to strike next week in protest at management plans to move the paper’s sub-editing operation to Southampton, with the loss of six jobs locally.

The protest will mark the second time staff have walked out after a two-day strike earlier this month and follows a strike ballot by journalists at Newsquest in Blackburn over the company-wide pay freeze.

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