Journalists at a group of newspapers taken over by Newsquest earlier this year have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay with the regional publishing giant.
The National Union of Journalists has announced members of its Newsquest Carlisle chapel have backed strike, and action short of strike, following a ballot.
Last month HTFP reported members of the chapel had criticised Newsquest after being told they could no longer hold union meetings at the Dalston Road office of the Carlisle News & Star.
The chapel instead met at Carlisle City Council’s headquarters to discuss a year-long pay claim, after the authority’s leader Colin Glover agreed they could use the building.
The NUJ had lodged a five per cent pay claim in an attempt to reverse “years of pay erosion”, which it says has reduced earnings in real terms by around 20 to 25pc.
Votes for both types of industrial action polled at 87.5pc in favour, and the chapel will meet on Wednesday to decide the next steps.
Newsquest bought the previously family-owned CN Group, of which its Carlisle titles was part, in March this year.
Jane Kennedy, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “It is no surprise to us that the chapel have come out so strongly to vote for action. We have tried very hard with the company to reach a negotiated settlement but they simply refused to enter into meaningful discussions.
“Indeed their petty and spiteful decision do refuse to allow the chapel to meet in the workplace has only strengthened the resolve of the chapel to press on for a fair pay settlement.
“Since Newsquest has taken over we have only seen redundancies and empty promises. Our members are working harder than ever to try and maintain the quality local journalism that has been the hallmark of CN Group.
“They do this despite Newsquest not because of them; NUJ members are just seeking a fair reward for their hard work and call on the company to come back to the negotiating table.”
A Newsquest spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the NUJ should choose to pursue its pay dispute with the CN Group by taking industrial action.
“Now the company is under new ownership with Newsquest, we hope that the journalists can get behind what we are trying to achieve in putting the business back onto a sustainable footing.”