Second strike for Belfast Telegraph

Journalists at The Belfast Telegraph have decided to hold a second 48-hour strike over pay, writes Dominic Ponsford.

About 100 journalists could be involved in the walkout, planned for 1 and 2 June – directly following Bank Holiday Monday – after owner Independent News & Media failed to move on its 3 per cent pay offer.

An NUJ spokesman said: “The newspaper’s editorial columns have long preached the virtues of dialogue. But when it comes to its own employees, management has walked away from the table and adopted a ‘not an inch’ stance.”

The first 48-hour strike, on 7 and 8 May, resulted in 80 per cent of staff taking part and meant that weekly sport newspaper Ireland’s Saturday Night did not go to press.

The dispute centres around the fact that Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life journalists are paid much less than colleagues on sister papers the Irish Independent and the London-based Independent.

A spokesman for IN&M said: “The company is of the view that the threat of further industrial action can serve no purpose and believes it has made a good pay offer which has already been accepted by all other employees. The company has expressed its regret that its offer of further talks with the NUJ, in an attempt to resolve the dispute, has not been taken up by the union.

The company intends to publish all its titles on 1 and 2 June 2004.”

The NUJ says it was offered talks with a strict agenda of discussing only increased holidays, which it turned down.

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