First 24-hour strike gets underway at Express titles

Around 50 Express Newspapers journalists are expected to join the picket line over the course of this morning as the first full-day strike on a national newspaper for 18 years gets underway.

Express parent company Northern and Shell stepped up security outside the building this morning to coincide with the start of the 24-hour walkout, possibly the first of three in protest over pay and conditions.

By 7.30 this morning, around a dozen Daily Express and Daily Star staff had congregated outside the building to greet Express Newspapers proprietor Richard Desmond as he arrived for work.

The dispute centres on a pay offer of three per cent which the union has rejected, claiming it was made without proper negotiation with staff. NUJ president Michelle Stanistreet was one of the Express journalists on the picket line this morning.

“Every year since Desmond has taken over we have endured redundancy rows, budget cuts, relentless cost-cutting exercises,” Stanistreet told Press Gazette.

“We would much rather have a management who seemed committed to the future of the titles – someone who will invest in them. This is not a company that’s on its knees. It’s a profitable business.”

The Daily Express and the Daily Star are both expected to rely on casual workers and agency copy to bring out tomorrow’s editions.

“The fact that the paper is going to be on newsagents’ shelves tomorrow won’t be a sign that this hasn’t worked,” Stanistreet said. “We know it will come out because he’ll cram it full of agency copy.”

According to the NUJ, the last full-day strike at a major national newspaper was at the Daily Telegraph in 1990, when journalists went on strike over pay.

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