Striking journalists felt as frozen as a Daily Echo pay packet yesterday as they took to busking the streets of Southampton with a selection seasonal songs.
The cash strapped correspondent’s braved sub zero temperatures in protest at an ongoing two year pay freeze imposed by ‘Scrooge’ bosses at Newsquest –owners of the Daily Echo.
The journos, including staff from the Echo’s Eastleigh High Street office – who produce local freebie ‘Eastleigh News Extra’ – have been refused a pay rise despite helping the company to achieve huge profits while bosses have awarded themselves lavish increases.
Well wishers joined in with the carol singing and received copies of a specially produced ‘Picket line edition’ of the Daily Echo.
Sally Churchward, secretary of the NUJ chapel at the Southern Daily Echo said:
“We are very sorry to find ourselves with no option but to strike again. We have accepted years of below inflation pay rises and a pay freeze last year. We are all very proud of the Echo and do not wish to harm the paper or its reputation but feel we have to make a stand against the ongoing pay freeze, especially when a senior executive has been given a 21.5% pay rise and the company has announced pre-tax profits of £88.5m.”
Nick Chaffey of Southampton Shop Stewards Network (SSSN) said:
“People in Southampton have reacted very positively to the Echo workers. There is an understanding that ‘we are all in this together’ and need to unite against a government that want to use the recession as a smokescreen to axe public services and bosses who are using it as an excuse to drive down pay and conditions.”
NUJ reps at the Echo are among guests who have been invited to speak at a public meeting organised by the SSSN at 7.30pm Thursday 16th December at the ‘Bosuns’ Locker’, Upper Bugle Street, Southampton.
More info: dailyechonuj