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Strike vote journalists decide against walkout

Journalists from a regional daily who voted to take strike action have suspended plans for any walkout in the hope of pay talks with management.

The National Union of Journalists’ chapel at the Southern Daily Echo voted 68pc in favour of strike action in a dispute over compulsory redundancies and pay.

They held a ballot after management at the Newsquest title announced plans to make five journalists redundant, four in a subbing hub and the paper’s deputy sports editor, and because of an ongoing pay dispute – which has already seen strike action take place.

But since the vote in favour of a strike which 23 union members took part in, the chapel has now decided not to take any industrial action at present with the aim of being able to hold ‘meaningful pay negotiations’ with managers.

A spokesperson for the NUJ chapel said: “The fact that the chapel voted in favour of industrial action again indicates that people still feel very strongly about both compulsory redundancies and the ongoing pay dispute.

“However, the decision has been made not to take any industrial action for the time being with a view to entering into meaningful pay negotiations with management. The chapel may review this position at a later stage.”

In the New Year, journalists at the paper were offered a 2pc pay rise effective from 1 July, as were those at other Newsquest centres.

Editor-in-chief Ian Murray told HTFP he had not been informed by the chapel about the decision not to go on strike.

He said: “I’m delighted to hear that the chapel have decided against any industrial action, however surprised that they appear to wish to communicate with management at the paper via other media.

“This kind of loudspeaker debate is hardly the backdrop for meaningful negotiations.”