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Strike due to hit newspaper offices today

National Union of Journalists members at Coventry Newspapers were today due to take strike action in a protest over pay.

Journalists at the Coventry Evening Telegraph, The Hinckley Times, Bedworth Echo, Coventry Citizen, Hinckley Herald & Journal and Nuneaton Weekly Tribune were due to stay away from their desks as part of a 24-hour stoppage.

They planned to set up picket lines from 6am in Coventry and from 8am elsewhere.

Trinity Mirror, owner of the titles, says publication of the newspapers will not be affected.

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.

They say their claim for a minimum rate of £14,500 for newly-qualified seniors working on weekly papers is still less than what their colleagues earn in Liverpool.

They are also unhappy that the new minimum rate for qualified journalists on the evening paper will be £18,882 per annum – more than £800 less than the rate for journalists on daily papers in nearby Birmingham, which are also owned by Trinity Mirror.

57 NUJ members were balloted and of the 50 who voted 40 were in favour of strike action.

A spokesman for Coventry Newspapers said: “A minority of editorial staff voted in favour of the strike and we hope that employees will choose not to support it.

“In any case, the company has no intention of reviewing its decision regarding the 2005 pay review, and we fail to see what this action will achieve.

“We have already responded positively to each issue raised by the union, and have improved our offer on several occasions in the interests of finding a solution.

“Publication with be unaffected both on Friday and Saturday.”