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Newsquest chapels discuss national two-day strike

Journalists across the Newsquest publishing group are considering co-ordinating nationwide two-day strike action in January in protest at the company’s continuing pay freeze.

As reported on HTFP earlier this week, the National Union of Journalists is now calling on its members to join a a ‘national campaign’ against Newsquest.

Now it has emerged that NUJ chapels across the group may decide to take co-ordinated strike action on January 6-7, at the end of the first full week back at work after the Christmas and New Year break.

The union’s Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said it was up to indvidual chapels to decide what to do, but admitted they might decide to take action on the same day.

Mr Morley told HTFP: “We have a number of chapels who are independently balloting over a series of issues. It’s for those chapels to decide what they want to do, but it’s possible they may decide to take action on the same day.

“If that’s what the chapels decide to do, it would be an extremely effective signal to the company.

“Nobody is going to make a decision about whether the chapels take action apart from the chapels themselves,” he added.

“The chapels have discussed the prospect of taking co-ordinated action as a result of their own individual ballots. It’s not something we can order from Headland House.”

NUJ members at the Southern Daily Echo and Brighton’s The Argus have already announced they will hold a two-day strike next Tuesday and Wednesday over job losses and pay.

Union members at The Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times and Durham Times have also voted in favour of strike action.

The latest chapel balloting on action is at Newsquest Oxfordshire, publishers of the Oxford Mail, The Oxford Times, Banbury Cake, Bicester Advertiser, Oxford Star, Herald Series and Witney Gazette.

It said yesterday it was considering joining a nationwide protest on January 6-7 but that no final decision had been made.

No-one from Newsquest was available for comment at the time of publication.