Journalists at the Morning Star, the left-wing daily, have voted to strike – weeks after one of the paper’s bosses warned the paper would close if they did.
Members of the National Union of Journalists chapel voted 11 to three in favour of a one-day strike on Monday 23 February.
They said the walkout wouldl be followed by a week’s strike if management do not compromise.
The strike was triggered after NUJ members rejected a pay offer close to 2008 levels of inflation – which the union calls “effectively a pay freeze” – alongside a one-off four per cent bonus.
Father of the chapel Steve Mather said: “We don’t need one-off bribes, we need a step towards decent pay.
“We all work hard to bring out a decent paper against all the odds, yet our bosses won’t even pay us £19,000 after the biggest investment in our history.”
The paper has received a £500,000 anonymous donation, spread over three years – but it is thought the People’s Press Printing Society, the paper’s co-operative, has not yet received the money.
Last month, Morning Star political editor and lead negotiator of the PPPS John Haylett said: “If journalists go on strike, they will still not secure an increase.
“They will secure the closure of the Morning Star after 71 years. Socialists of any stripe should not be applauding the actions of a group of workers who are putting their own interests before those of our class as a whole.”
But NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear today welcomed the strike vote.
“Our members feel forced into this action by a management that is refusing to pay its staff a fair rate for their work,” he said.
“They don’t want to go out on strike – but if that’s what it takes to win fair pay then they are clear that is what they’ll do.”
Deputy father of chapel Carl Worswick added: “It’s time for management to put its money where its mouth is.
“We write about workers fighting for fair pay all the time – now it’s our turn.”
The paper was founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, and relaunched as the the Morning Star in 1966.