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Journalists cancel three-day strike hours before walkout due to start

Lord KilclooneyA three-day strike by journalists over pay has been called off hours before it was due to start.

The National Union of Journalists says its members at Alpha Newspaper Group, in Northern Ireland, have cancelled the proposed walkout after talks with the company.

The union was demanding a 14.5pc pay increase for journalists at Alpha’s titles when the strike was announced, but although it has confirmed a deal has been agreed, the details have not been revealed.

Members had been due to walk out tomorrow, Friday and Monday at the Coleraine Chronicle, Tyrone Constitution, Antrim Guardian, Newry Democrat, Ulster Gazette and the County Down Outlook. Journalists at the Ballymena Guardian had been due to join the strike tomorrow only.

Earlier this week the Belfast News Letter had reported Alpha’s chairman Lord Kilclooney, pictured above left, as saying he knew “nothing” about the planned strike.

A joint statement by the NUJ and Alpha reads: “Strike action has been called off at Alpha Newspapers following further talks between the company and the NUJ.

“The company and union are pleased with the outcome and look forward to a strong future for the newspaper group.”

The NUJ had previously stated many journalists employed by the group earn less than £15,000 a year, with some on statutory minimum wages.