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November 12, 2018updated 30 Sep 2022 7:04am

Newsquest Cumbria journalists vote for strike action in push for pay settlement

By James Walker

Journalists at Newsquest titles in Cumbria have voted for strike action as they push the regional publisher for a pay deal.

National Union of Journalists’ Cumbria Chapel members also voted for action short of a strike, with 87.5 per cent voting yes to both forms of industrial action.

Newsquest has nine titles in Cumbria. It bought out family-run publisher the Cumbrian News Group, whose titles included the Carlisle News and Star, Hexham Courant and Whitehaven News, in March this year.

The Cumbria chapel are expected to meet on Wednesday and make a decision on what action to take.

Last month Newsquest banned union meetings at its HQ in Carlisle.

NUJ northern and midlands organiser Jane Kennedy said: “We have tried very hard with the company to reach a negotiated settlement but they simply refused to enter into meaningful discussions.

“Indeed their petty and spiteful decision to refuse to allow the chapel to meet in the workplace has only strengthened the resolve of the chapel to press on for a fair pay settlement.

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“Since Newsquest has taken over we have only seen redundancies and empty promises. Our members are working harder than ever to try and maintain the quality local journalism that has been the hallmark of CN Group.”

Four months after buying CN Group, Newsquest dropped four staff photographers from the Carlisle head office for Cumbria titles. A former group editor was axed in May as part of an editorial restructure.

In a statement on the Cumbria NUJ Chapel’s strike ballot, a Newsquest spokesperson said: “It is disappointing that the NUJ should choose to pursue its pay dispute with the CN Group by taking industrial action.

“Now the company is under new ownership with Newsquest, we hope that the journalists can get behind what we are trying to achieve in putting the business back onto a sustainable footing.”

The NUJ has previously accused the publisher of being “addicted to cuts”.

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