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Strike over job cuts called off at weekly

Journalists at a weekly newspaper in Northern Ireland who were planning to hold a one-day strike have called off their walkout.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Newry Democrat had given notice they would strike next Monday after four production staff at the title were made redundant and their work moved elsewhere.

They were calling for management at the Alpha Newspaper Group to enter negotiations with the union over reinstating the staff or offering enhanced redundancy payments, after claiming they were only offered minimum statutory terms.

But the union confirmed the strike has now been suspended after the company agreed to negotiations with arbitration body the Labour Relations Agency.

The NUJ says it was asked to suspend the strike notice by the LRA after the group agreed to attend talks.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “The chapel has acceded to the request of the LRA in good faith and we hope the company will respond in a like manner.

“The NUJ reserves the right to issue industrial action notice for future dates but of course we hope this will not prove necessary.”

Managing director Jonathan Taylor told HTFP earlier this week he hoped the strike could be averted.

He added the group had rescued the paper from ‘imminent closure’ when it was taken on last November and believed it could be made feasible but this involved reducing costs.