Independent journalists to vote on industrial action

Only the second national newspaper strike in almost 20 years moved a step closer this afternoon when Independent and Independent on Sunday journalists voted in favour of an industrial action ballot.

The National Union of Journalists said a chapel meeting, held this afternoon, was attended by more than 130 people. Of those, more than 90 per cent voted in favour of the ballot.

Independent News and Media announced in November that it was cutting 90 jobs from the two titles, 60 in editorial, to save £10m.

Since then, 50 journalists have volunteered for voluntary redundancy, but only 34 have been accepted.

A source told Press Gazette that staff were also upset at the proposed move from Canary Wharf, east London, to Associated Newspapers‘ headquarters in Kensington, west London.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear, who was at today’s meeting, said: “Independent journalists feel there is no plan or vision about how to take the papers and websites forward with a much smaller staff.

“People who want to go will be forced to stay and staff wishing to stay will be forced to leave. This is a recipe for widespread demoralisation and makes no business sense.

“Those staff remaining have many concerns, including the effect on the quality of their journalism, and health and safety.”

The last national newspaper strike, a 24-hour walkout at Express Newspapers last April, was the first since a Daily Telegraph strike in 1990.

The Independent – which increased its cover price to £1 last year – has seen its circulation plummet in recent years.

In December, according to ABC, its circulation was 200,242, with just 156,388 in the UK and 117,476 at full rate.

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