Morning Star strike suspended as pay talks continue

Journalists at left-wing daily newspaper the Morning Star have called off next week’s one-day strike “as a sign of good faith”.

Union members on the title had voted by 11 to three in favour of the walkout next Monday after rejecting a three per cent pay increase plus a one-off four per cent lump sum bonus.

But the National Union of Journalists chapel said tonight that it had decided to suspend the industrial action to allow talks to continue.

NUJ deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “I’m pleased to report that we’ve had constructive negotiations with management.

“As a sign of good faith, the chapel has called off the industrial action planned for Monday.

“Our members don’t want to go on strike – they just want management to address their concerns about low pay.”

According to the union, journalists on the title typically earn less than £18,000 a year.

It claims that management promises – made two years ago – to increase pay to bring it closer in line with other national newspaper journalists had not been fulfilled.

Management had argued that the three per cent pay offer was higher than that tabled by any other national newspaper in the past year.

‘Strike will not secure an increase’

Morning Star political editor, John Haylett, warned colleagues last month that going on strike could “secure the closure” of the 79-year-old paper.

“Wages are low at our paper for the same reason that they are so at every other socialist paper,” he said in a forum post on SocialistUnity.com

“We have low circulation and no access to the big business advertising that keeps every capitalist daily paper in being.

“All socialist papers are sustained on the basis of sacrifice by staff and supporters.

“The Morning Star, as the world’s only English-language daily broad-left socialist newspaper, is no different.

“To present this committee as akin to boards of fat-cat directors who trouser dividends and bonuses is a travesty.

“Every Morning Star staff member is told bluntly at interview: The wages are crap. We work at the paper because we are politically committed to its aims.

“Socialists of any stripe should not be applauding the actions of a group of workers who are putting their own interests before those of our class as a whole.”

The left-wing title was launched in 1930 as the Daily Worker, the official paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and relaunched as the the Morning Star in 1966.

Its future was safeguarded last year by an anonymous consortium providing funding of £500,000 over three years.

The paper, which does not have an official ABC circulation figure, is set to relaunch in the spring in full colour and hire extra staff.

It has a cover price of 60p and carries the slogan: “For peace and socialism.”

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