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NUJ calls off three-day strike in the wake of Queen’s death

A planned three-day strike by journalists next week has been called off in the wake of the death of the Queen, with a revised pay proposal now set to be put to union members.

An estimated 1,150 members of the National Union of Journalists working at Reach plc titles had planned to walk out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week in their ongoing dispute with the company over pay.

The union has already staged a one-day stoppage on 31 August as well as imposing a work-to-rule from 1-13 September after rejecting a pay offer of 3pc or £750, whichever was higher.

It is now set to hold a consultative online ballot of members over a new pay proposal that has been put forward by the company and is postponing the strike action and lifting the work-to-rule until after the Queen’s funeral.


Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, with striking Reach journalists on the picket line at the company's London headquarters in Canary Wharf

Striking Reach journalists on the picket line at the company’s London headquarters in Canary Wharf last month

The union said in a statement: “The National Union of Journalists has postponed next week’s three-day strike action at Reach Plc and the current work to rule at the company.  The strike was due to begin on Wednesday, coinciding with the TUC Congress in Brighton.

“The Reach Group Chapel today decided to postpone the strike action and to use the intervening period to consult members on proposals put forward by the company. The Executive Council of the TUC today decided to postpone Congress following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“The union will now undertake an online consultative ballot of members to gain views on whether journalists wish to accept the proposed deal. The ballot will open on 14 September and close at noon on 23 September.”

A Reach spokesperson added:  “We have been working on a number of proposals to resolve this dispute and can share that the NUJ have agreed to take a proposal to their members for ballot. This is a significant step and we are hopeful for a resolution.”

In the previous ballot of 1,069 NUJ members at Reach, 79pc of those who returned their papers voted in favour of strike action and 88pc in favour of action short of a strike.

Attempts to resolve the dispute over the August Bank Holiday weekend foundered with the NUJ claiming Reach chief executive Jim Mullen had vetoed a proposed deal.