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NUJ hails strike a success – but no deal is reached

National Union of Journalists members at Coventry Newspapers have declared last week’s strike action a success, despite no resolution being found.

Journalists at the Coventry Evening Telegraph, The Hinckley Times, Bedworth Echo, Coventry Citizen, Hinckley Herald & Journal and Nuneaton Weekly Tribune stayed away from their desks as part of a 24-hour stoppage on Friday, and NUJ members are this week expected to give notice of further action.

But publication of the titles was unaffected and management say they will not be reviewing the company’s pay offer.

Picket lines were set up at newspaper offices in Coventry, Nuneaton and Hinckley, with NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and vice president Chris Morley showing their support by arriving at the Coventry picket line at 6am.

Members also handed out pink leaflets to the public and carried placards.

Coventry branch treasurer James McCarthy said: “The strike was a huge success. We got great support from the public, who beeped their horns and took our leaflets.

“Many of them came back when they had read them saying, ‘It’s disgusting what you get paid! Have you got a petition we can sign?’ And we received messages of support from all over the world, from Dublin to Ukraine.”

Miles Barter, NUJ Northern organiser added: “The day has shown us how much the people of this city appreciate what we do, even if our employers don’t. It’s time they realised that none of their profits would be made without our hard work.”

The action follows months of talks, with the NUJ’s original pay claim submitted last September.

The two sides went to ACAS in April, but failed to reach a resolution.

NUJ members say they are unhappy with the company’s basic pay offer of 2.75 per cent with some extras on minimum bandings.

A spokesman for Coventry Newspapers said: “Production of our newspapers was completely unaffected by last week’s strike.

“Less than half the bargaining unit stayed away from work and all editions were published as normal.

“This lack of support is unsurprising given that only 40 per cent of editorial staff voted in favour of strike action.

“The company has already improved its offer several times to try to find a solution and will not be reviewing its decision regarding the 2005 pay award.”