Walk of Shame

Echo staff give their boss the cold shoulder

Echo editor Ian Murray couldn’t look his own reporters in the eye as he was forced to walk through a picket line outside Southampton Art Gallery today.

Mr Murray was playing host to Lady Buscombe, head of the Press Complaints Commission and had arranged a public meeting at the art gallery, but the boss and Baroness arrived at the venue to be confronted by placard waving members of the Press making a few complaints of their own.

NUJ members at the Daily Echo are taking action over an ongoing pay freeze and reporters, feature writers, sub-editors and photographers began a 48 hour stoppage at seven o’clock this (Tuesday) morning.

The journalists have not had a pay rise since June 2008 and their bonus payments have been scrapped.

Newsquest, the company who produce the Daily Echo, Eastleigh News Extra and Hampshire Chronicle have branded the company final salary pension scheme as unaffordable, even though the top director has awarded himself a 21% pay rise and a 250% increase in his own pension pot.

The day of inaction got off to a soggy start this morning outside the newspapers’ Test Lane HQ.

Despite pouring rain, striking journos handed out copies of their specially produced ‘Striking Daily Echo’ (Picket line edition) while passing motorists honked their horns in support.

Speaking outside the Echo main gates a damp Barry Fitzpatrick, national organiser for the National Union of Journalists said:

“We don’t expect the management will give in after a two day stoppage but they have to realise we aren’t going to give in either”

A further two-day strike is planned for November 16 and 17.

Photo:© Matthew Myatt