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Ten-day strike announced

Picket lines will be back in place in Spalding on Saturday as journalists in dispute over pay launch their third lot of strike action.

The second five-day strike at the Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press ended yesterday.

But with no resolution to the dispute, another – ten day – strike is set to begin at the weekend.

National Union of Journalists membership stands at 13 of the 18 editorial staff. The newspapers, owned by Welland Valley Newspapers, part of Johnston Press, are still being published with the help of freelance cover.

Union members originally asked for a 15-point pay claim, which has been altered to a ten-point demand that is now the subject of discussion between management and staff.

Pickets at the company headquarters have been joined by colleagues from other centres, as well as friends, family and other supporters.

Welland Valley Newspapers has now offered a better deal for trainees and newly-qualified seniors but the offer meets only part of the NUJ pay claim.

An NUJ spokesman, worried about “erosion of pay” said: “Johnston Press is offering a basic wage of £10,500 for non graduate trainees and was paying around £10,000 for such people 10 years ago.”

The company also says it has offered pay scales for existing staff in line with the NUJ claim.

An earlier statement from Welland Valley Newspapers said: “Despite this and a further chapel meeting, the company’s offer was rejected and new demands were put forward.

“These are unacceptable to the company which indicated that no further improvements will be made to its final offer.”

The original union demand included a one-off payment of £500 for seniors and pay rises across the board in line with a negotiated new pay scale.

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