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Journalists at second Newsquest daily vote for New Year strike

chris-morleyJournalists at a second Newsquest daily have announced they are are set to go on strike in the New Year.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have already announced a two-day stoppage on 2-3 January 2018 over low pay.

Now NUJ members in Darlington have voted in favour of similar action after the regional publisher announced proposals to axe three editorial roles.

The action, for which no date has yet been set, includes journalists working on the Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times, Durham Times and the Advertiser series.

In a ballot over industrial action in Darlington, 15 votes were cast in support of strike action, with two votes against and one spoilt or invalid ballot paper.

There were also 17 votes in favour of action short of a strike, and one against.

A statement by the union’s Newsquest Darlington chapel said: “The chapel is very pleased with the result of the ballot, which gives a strong mandate for action. At the end of a year which has seen a small pay rise countered by a decrease in the mileage rate, then followed by a proposal to reduce pay and lieu time given for working bank holidays, and now a re-structure of editorial that will mean the loss of highly-valued, experienced and talented staff, members are angry and disillusioned.

“The ballot shows the support there is for colleagues placed at risk and concerns about the increasing workloads that are being continuously imposed as a result of the raft of cost-cutting measures.”

HTFP reported in November that Newsquest plans to cut three newsdesk positions on the Echo to one, with one of two copy editors working on the company’s weekly titles in the area also under threat.

Titles affected include the Despatch series, which was relaunched in October more than 30 years after it was last published as an evening sister title to the Echo.

Chris Morley, pictured, NUJ Northern and Midlands senior organiser, said: “We really hope management will take stock of the expressed anger of staff at the Echo and rethink their plans through sensible and reasonable dialogue with the NUJ chapel before the need for any industrial action to take place.”

Newsquest announced last month that the group web editor, news editor and three content managers based at Swindon were at risk of redundancy in a restructure, although the strike action there has been called over low pay rather than job cuts.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “We note that just 15 members of the NUJ employed by Newsquest North-East in Darlington and Durham voted in favour of strike action in the union’s recent ballot of membership.

“This is just a third of our editorial team and we hope that continued dialogue will avoid any action being taken. Regardless of what the union chooses to do, our products will be published as normal in Darlington just as they will be during the strike action at Swindon.”


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  • December 21, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    In light of all the staff cuts, titles ceasing publication and offices closing I find myself continuously wondering how many Directors, board members and senior team rolls have gone? Has renumeration to them also reduced massively seeing as there’s so much less to ‘manage’ now?

    It’d be interesting to see the figures in regards to total circulation between say 10 years ago and now and percentages of reductions in senior roles because let’s face it. If one of the big roles go it’s likely a cost saving that could be used to keep 5-10 front line staff in employment producing, hopefully, a far superior product.

    Not the way of the world though hey.

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  • December 21, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Serious solidarity here. Anyone not in the union needs to look at how people are being treated and take a look at the future. You can all still join right up to the day. We can make a difference together.

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  • December 21, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    “Our products will be published as normal” not normal as in produced by skilled journalists but “normal” as in this is what we are prepared to put out ie get the readers to write the paper then charge them to buy it back!

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