Journalists at Guardian News and Media have voted in favour of possible strike action in protest at feared compulsory redundancies.
The move means they now have the legal authority to walk out on strike but whether they do so may depend on the outcome of ongoing negotiations and a secondary vote of the staff.
According to the NUJ the vote was 81.6 per cent in favour of a strike. In terms of turnout, Press Gazette understands that 345 out of 642 editorial staff at GNM voted in favour of possible strike action.
GNM is currently seeking to cut 100 editorial posts as part of a plan to make annual savings of £7m. Press Gazette understands that at last count around 50 individuals had volunteered for redundancy, leaving open the possibility of compulsory job cuts.
NUJ general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick said: “We are still in talks at Acas, the arbitration service, and hope for a negotiated settlement. The editor Alan Rusbridger and the Guardian management must now reflect on the strength of the vote and what is says in terms of their staff’s confidence in them.
“The union has suggested a whole range of cost-cutting measures – including cuts to executive pay, job sharing and more part-time working. The management has taken a serious risk of jeopardising the culture within the Guardian by trying to force through compulsory redundancies.”
Guardian NUJ Father of Chapel Brian William said: “The result speaks for itself. We will use this strong message from the chapel as the basis for establishing the future stability of the company, taking into account the concerns of the papers’ journalists.”
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This overwhelming vote for action is not just about saving jobs, it is about journalists who are proud of the quality of news gathering and writing in their papers and do not want to put it at peril.”
A Guardian spokeswoman said: “Talks are ongoing and we remain hopeful that we can resolve this through negotiation.”