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Second Newquest daily faces strike action next week

Journalists at an Essex daily have voted to join colleagues at a Newsquest sister title in taking strike action next Wednesday.

The members of the National Union of Journalists who work for the Colchester Gazette have voted in favour of industrial action over pay and will stage a one-day walk out on Wednesday February 15.

Other journalists at Newsquest’s Echo titles in Basildon are currently working to rule after voting in favour of industrial action.

They will stage a three-day strike from Monday 13 February until Wednesday 15 February –  the same day that the Colchester staff are holding their walk-out.

The union claims the company has failed to negotiate adequately over pay, with staff facing a pay freeze.

However, the company has said that it agreed with the union that it would consider a revised pay claim.

Will Lodge, Father of the Colchester Chapel said: “Members want to show management how grave they feel the pay situation is.

“This is not an action we are taking lightly. We have been negotiating since October on the issue of pay and have not yet received even a crumb.

“By calling this action we hope management will sit up and listen to us, without us having potentially to resort to further, more escalated action.”

He added that he hoped the dispute could be resolved before any strike action took place.

Martin McNeill, editorial director at Newsquest Essex, said: “We have had a number of meetings with the NUJ and, within the last two weeks, had agreed to consider a revised pay claim from the north Essex chapel.

“We were surprised and disappointed to learn the chapel had called a one-day strike without even waiting for a response to this new claim.

“Contrary to the impression being given by the NUJ, there is not a pay freeze for 2012 at Newsquest Essex. While we are not in a position to increase salaries at Newsquest Essex at the moment, due to difficult trading conditions, we have made it clear we will review the situation in June .    

“A strike would achieve nothing except the loss of pay for those involved. We hope the NUJ will call off the proposed action and work constructively with us to achieve our targets for 2012.”