Staff at local newspapers The Daily Echo and Eastleigh News Extra are set to resume strike action next week after talks with management broke down.
The jaded journo’s have announced they will be back on the picket line on December 7 and 8 in protest at an ongoing two year pay freeze, the cessation of bonus payments and the closure of their final salary pension scheme – despite the directors of parent company Newsquest awarding themselves bumper pay rises off the back of healthy profits.
Disgruntled NUJ hacks – who make up around 75% of the editorial staff at the Echo– previously went on strike for two days on November 9 and 10 but then held out an olive branch by cancelling two further planned days of action in the hope of reaching an agreement by meeting with management.
However, even before negotiators had a chance to break out the digestives, editor Ian Murray told the journalism.co.uk website that the management were not prepared to discuss pay or pensions.
David Brine, father of the Southern Daily Echo chapel, said:
“Strike action is always a last resort but we feel they have been left with no alternative. We accepted a pay freeze for the first year but the healthy profit made by the company on the back of our members’ work has blown a hole in their argument that the wage freeze should remain. We should share in the fruits of our labours.”
Sally Churchward, secretary of the Southern Daily Echo chapel, said:
“Our members were very keen to come to an agreement to avoid further industrial action but unfortunately all of our suggestions – such as a one-off payment for staff – were refused and no offer was made by management. Staff at the Echo are very proud of the paper and do not wish to harm it or its reputation but we feel that we have no choice but to stand up against ongoing unfair treatment.”
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