Journalists at two South Coast regional dailies have set up blogs explaining the reasons why they will start a two-day strike tomorrow.
Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Southern Daily Echo and Brighton’s The Argus are both holding 48-hour strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday, which follow previous strikes by the titles in November.
Around 40 Echo journalists will walk out because of Newsquest’s ongoing pay freeze, which means they have not had a rise since 2008, and their blog says the company has put ‘mammoth profits’ ahead of staff and readers.
And the action at The Argus is taking place over job losses which are set to arise from the centralisation of its subbing operation in Southampton.
The Echo blog says: “The journalists at the Southern Daily Echo are proud to work on a newspaper that represents Southampton and Hampshire, and do their utmost to deliver a paper local people want to read.
“However, that is growing increasingly difficult as Newsquest continues to put mammoth profits ahead of readers and staff alike.”
A leaflet produced for the strike says graduate trainees starting at the Echo earn just £16,500, while a senior reporter with five years’ experience earns less than £22,000 a year, despite normally working 10 hours unpaid overtime a week.
At The Argus, NUJ members are unhappy about plans to centralise its sub-editors in Southampton, which is expected to result in the loss of six jobs – claiming it will damage the paper.
Their blog says: “The company has indicated to chapel reps that it is not prepared to enter into pay negotiations and regards the loss of sub-editors’ jobs to Southampton as ‘irreversible’.
Journalists at the Echo previously went on strike for two days on 9-10 November over the pay dispute, while Argus NUJ members walked out on 18-19th November.
Unrest at Newsquest titles over the continuing pay freeze could lead to a nationwide 48-hour strike taking place on 6-7 January.
Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson was not available for comment at the time of publication.