Echo Staff Strike Back

DAVE Brine

Dave Brine from the Echo NUJ explains the background of the dispute to local Trade Unionists

Local journalists say they will be sending Daily Echo bosses a special Christmas present in the New Year – a further three days of strike action.

NUJ members at the Newsquest owned paper, which also produces Eastleigh News Extra and Eastleigh Borough News have already held two 48 hour stoppages which they say are in protest at being forced to endure an ongoing two year pay freeze while company bosses treat themselves to pay rises of up to 21% on the back of an £88 million profit.

The recalcitrant reporters will be joining staff on sister papers for two days of coordinated national strike action on January the 6th and 7th, but as a ‘bonus’ Daily Echo workers have added a third day – January the 5th.

The Echo journalists, who claim they frequently put in at least a day’s unpaid overtime every week, were shocked and angered when staff who crossed the picket line were given an extra day’s pay as a ‘bonus’ simply for tuning up for work on strike days.

Last week one bitter reporter compared the behavior of the Echo editor to that of roman despot.

Father of the Echo NUJ chapel David Brine first revealed news of fresh strike action while speaking at a meeting of Southampton Shop Stewards Network (SSSN) held just before Christmas.

At the meeting local shop stewards and community activists paid tribute to Echo news staff for the way in which they had covered local disputes at Vestas and Ford and pledged their support for striking NUJ members.

Also present at the meeting were two Daily Echo website readers who regularly contribute comments to echo stories under the usernames ‘Southy’ and ‘Militant Ford Worker’.

Speaking after the meeting ‘Militant Ford Worker’ said

“I am amazed to see the Echo editor acting in what appears to be such an unprofessional and deliberately provocative way.”

“In my experience if any manager at Ford acted in such a way as to prolong or lengthen a strike he would end up sacked or sidelined.”

“Talking is better than walking – but it seems it is the Echo Editor who has refused to talk about grievances – so you can’t blame the workers.”