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South Coast journalists vote to go on strike

Journalists at a South Coast regional daily have voted to take strike action in a dispute over redundancies and pay.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Southern Daily Echo have voted 68pc in favour of a walkout and 78pc in favour of action short of a strike.

The chapel decided to hold the ballot after management at the Newsquest title announced plans to make five journalists redundant as part of efficiencies because of the trading conditions being faced.

23 journalists took part in the ballot and a spokesperson for the chapel told HTFP that no decisions on a walkout had yet been made.

It was revealed last month that four positions in the newly-formed subbing hub and one management role at the Echo’s sports desk were under threat.

And the company confirmed last week the five people who would leave – four of which are understood to be compulsory redundancies – including the paper’s deputy sports editor Simon Straker.

The dispute between the union also centres on an ongoing issue over pay, which has seen the chapel already take part in a number of walkouts before Christmas and in the New Year.

Editor-in-chief Ian Murray confirmed last week that four redundancies had been made from the subbing unit and one from the sports management team.

Following the strike vote, he said: “Out of a possible 42 NUJ members at Southampton only half actually took part in the ballot. The results saw only 15 staff vote for strike action out of a total editorial team here of 77.

“Whereas I am sorry that even that small number thought it necessary to consider taking such measures, this does go to show that there is little support for action of this nature.

“The vagaries of the NUJ’s ballot system means the union does have a mandate even on such a low vote, but how valid this is in real terms can be seen clearly by the figures.

“Sadly we have now gone through the redundancy process here, subject of course to appeals, but we can now move forward.”

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  • April 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    15 out of 42 vote to strike with 23 members who voted. With 77 journalists and only 42 in the union, it is too weak a position.

    To the 42 – You guys are either in the union or not. Why pay the monthly fee if you cannot be bothered to turn up to a meeting and vote. I guess when it’s your job on the line you will go to the meeting. I always go to a meeting whether it is my day off or not.

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