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Journalists’ strike? It’s news to me says newspaper group chairman

Lord KilclooneyThe chairman of a newspaper group whose journalists are set to strike tomorrow claims he “knows nothing” about the planned industrial action.

Lord Kilclooney, pictured left, chairman of Alpha Newspaper Group, denied knowledge of the action set to be held over three days over pay for staff at the company’s titles.

The crossbench peer, a former Ulster Unionist MP, made the assertion when contacted by Belfast-based Johnston Press daily the News Letter aboute the planned action.

The National Union of Journalists says many journalists employed by the group earn less than £15,000 a year, with some on statutory minimum wages, and is demanding a 14.5pc pay rise for staff.

When the News Letter contacted Lord Kilclooney about the strike, he said: “Oh, I know nothing about it.”

The peer added he had just returned from England, and that “we have a meeting next week, OK?”

The News Letter offered to provide some of the facts about the upcoming industrial action, to which he replied: “You needn’t bother.”

He said he wished to “get the facts from the company first”.

Titles affected by the strike include the Coleraine Chronicle and Tyrone Constitution, the Antrim and Ballymena Guardian, the Newry Democrat, the Ulster Gazette and the County Down Outlook.

It is due to take place tomorrow, Friday and Monday, although journalists at the Ballymena Guardian will only walk out on the first day of action.

A list of Ireland’s richest people, published by the Irish Independent in 2010, said Lord Kilclooney was worth around €49m (approximately £38m).

The line went dead after the News Letter attempted to gauge his reaction to the NUJ’s assertions about reporters’ salaries, and the fact that the union has contrasted their pay with his own fortune.


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  • April 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Clearly a man with his finger on the pulse!
    In the name of Ulster’s poorly paid, give them the feckin money, you eejit.

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