Northern Echo journalists vote to strike

Newquest journalists in the North East could strike after 92 per cent of those taking part in an NUJ ballot voted in favour of industrial action against a pay freeze and job cuts.

Management at Newsquest announced last month plans to cut 17 journalists from the Darlington-based Northern Echo and associated weekly titles – almost one in five of the 100 editorial staff. Newsquest are also closing five district offices in Stockton, Redcar, Barnard Castle, Richmond and Thirsk.

The NUJ claims that 74 per cent of Northern Echo journalists are members of the union and said that 83 per cent of those took part in the ballot.

Of those voting – 92 per cent backed industrial action short of a strike and 80 per cent voted in favour of a strike. The chapel now have 28 days to decide whether to strike, and the issue is currently said to be under discussion.

Adam Murray, father of the Newsquest North East NUJ chapel, said: ‘The big vote for action shows the strength of feeling against the cuts to our newspapers.

‘We have been negotiating with management and are now discussing a handful of outstanding job cuts. I am hopeful there will be no compulsory redundancies.

‘NUJ members are still upset about the pay freeze after years of hard work and high profits.”

The Darlington Newsquest centre publishes the Northern Echo, the Darlington and Stockton Times, the Durham Times and the Advertiser series of free papers.

Newsquest was unavailable for comment.

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