Portsmouth journalists ballot on strike action over pay

By Dominic Ponsford

Journalists at The News in Portsmouth are to hold a strike ballot after rejecting a 2.75 per cent pay offer.

According
to the NUJ, it follows years of low settlements and does not reflect
the cost of living in the South. There have also been complaints about
a recruitment freeze and reduced staff numbers which is said to have
increased workload.

Union members at the paper say that parent
company Johnston Press’ assertion that pay levels are settled locally
is not borne out by the fact that every Johnston centre has received
the same 2.75 per cent pay offer.

NUJ father of the chapel in
Portsmouth David Maddox said: “This vote represents a growing
frustration with management which has been building up over the last
few years.

“Journalists at The News are fed up with seeing the
real value of their wages decrease year on year. They also believe that
the conditions created by what amounts to a recruitment freeze and
reduction of staff at a time when more is being asked of journalists
amounts to exploitation.

“Johnston management representatives keep telling us that times are too tough for a fair settlement.

However,
the group still has millions to spend on takeovers of newspapers like
The Scotsman and enormous expansions of printing works at centres such
as Portsmouth. “Neither The News nor the Johnston Group give the
appearance of being short of money. This is probably because profit
margins are still above 30 per cent.”

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