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Coventry strikers return to work

Striking journalists at Coventry Newspapers have today returned to work after almost a month of walkouts in a protest over pay.

National Union of Journalists members at the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Coventry Citizen, Nuneaton Tribune, Bedworth Echo and Hinckley Times had been on “indefinite” strike for the past two weeks in protest over pay, and had already held another 15 days of walkouts.

Now NUJ members say they have suspended industrial action after several days of negotiations including a private meeting on Monday between NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and Coventry Newspapers managing director David Faulkner.

Chapel members say they have “received a firm commitment” from senior Trinity Mirror managers that future pay levels would be improved and that key demands would be met in a series of negotiations to take place over the coming months.

But they say that if the company does not deliver on either the January pay award or on the introduction of the new pay matrix next April, their campaign will resume.

Jeremy Dear said: “Trinity Mirror managers admit they have heard the loud and clear the anger and grievances of editorial staff over pay – and the company recognises they must now be addressed.

“We are providing a breathing space in which we can work with the company to address those concerns.

“Work has already begun behind the scenes to deliver significantly improved pay and we are satisfied enough progress has been made to suspend the current action – but it is vital we see concrete results soon or further action may follow.”

A statement from Coventry Newspapers Ltd said: “David Faulkner was approached on Friday by Miles Barter (NUJ Northern Organiser), who suggested the company make a statement to the NUJ chapel.

“After discussion, the following wording was agreed by both parties: ‘The company has heard and understands the concerns expressed by journalists during this dispute. We will be happy to discuss them and to attempt to address them as part of the 2006 pay round and the discussions over a new competency-based pay structure.’