Southern Daily Echo staff to ballot on further strike action

Journalists on Newsquest‘s Southern Daily Echo in Southampton are to vote on further strike action over a company pay freeze which has been in place for almost two-and-a-half years.

The Echo’s National Union of Journalists chapel informed local management of its intention to again ballot its 40 members at the paper for strike action.

Around 75 per cent of the Echo’s editorial staff are understood members of the union.

The new strike vote comes after it emerged yesterday that Newsquest is rewarding journalists who crossed picket lines at the Southern Daily Echo with a bonus of two days pay.

Around a dozen non-union members of the Echo’s editorial staff received letters from editor-in-chief Ian Murray on Monday informing them they would receive an additional day’s pay for working during each of two recent 48-hour strikes my members of the NUJ working on the paper.

Murray told Press Gazette yesterday the payment was made in recognition of those members of staff who took on extra duties and covered extra hours during the strikes last month and earlier this month.

Members of the Daily Echo union chapel accused bosses of attempting to create divisions between staff and provoking further industrial action with the payment.

The ballot for further strike action comes on the heels of journalists at Newsquest centres in Blackburn, Bradford, Bolton and York all voting in favour of industrial action as a revolt over pay and conditions at the regional media group spreads.

Newsquest journalists at The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times in Glasgow are also understood to be balloting for industrial action in a fight against compulsory redundancies locally.

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