NUJ members at Express Newspapers postponed a 24-hour strike due to take place today in a change of tactic that will see them strike for three days in a row at the end of April.
The chapel plans to stage a three-day strike starting from 6am on 22 April and ending at 6am on 25 April to coincide with the Champions League semi finalsl. The company had already arranged security, casuals and cover with Press Association in preparation for today’s planned strike but these arrangements will now be ditched and journalists will not lose the day’s pay according to the NUJ. Next Friday’s 24-hour strike still stands.
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The last time national newspapers staged a three-day strike was at the Times in 1979.
Journalists began the first of three planned 24-hour days of action starting on Friday 4 April in response to a pay offer of 3 per cent by management.
The union is urging Express Newspapers proprietor Richard Desmond to meet with NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear.
Last night a new resolution was passed at Express Newspapers’ London NUJ chapel meeting. It said: ‘This chapel notes with regret that the management show no sign of conducting the dialogue to which they are committed under the terms of the house agreement. It looks forward to the day when the management of the company is conducted on a professional basis and when all matters are discussed through consultation and a genuine partnership between management and the NUJ.
‘As the union, just as much as the company, is committed to the future prosperity of the titles, as a gesture of goodwill the chapel suspends the action planned for April 11.
‘It looks to management to respond to that goodwill by immediately opening talks in an attempt to resolve the outstanding problems.
“If no settlement is forthcoming then the chapel gives notice it will take strike action on Tuesday 22 April, Wednesday 23 April and Thursday 24 April.”
Father of Chapel Steve Usher told Press Gazette: ‘The company has gone through all the trouble of arranging cover, bringing forward deadlines and getting PA on board and now they have had to stand everybody down. Next Friday’s strike still stands but hopefully in between we can reach some kind of compromise.”
Editorial director at Express Newspapers Paul Ashford would not comment on the developments.