Strike ballot at Mirror after staff slam redundancy offer

Daily Mirror journalists are balloting on strike action in protest
against what they say are the “worst redundancy terms on Fleet Street
other than The Independent”.

It is an uncharacteristic move from
the British Association of Journalists, which represents staff on the
three Mirror national titles. The BAJ was formed in 1992 as a breakaway
from the NUJ and has previously favoured cooperation rather than the
“crazy militancy”

of other unions.

The strike ballot across
the Mirror titles follows 40 editorial redundancies, which were
completed last week. Some 22 of these were on the Scottish Daily
Mirror, six on the Daily Mirror, 11 on the Sunday Mirror and one on The
People.

A resolution of the joint BAJ chapels on the three papers was unanimously passed, condemning the job cuts.

It
said that the chapel “regrets that the company will not come to
independent arbitration to let an arbitration panel adjudicate on BAJ’s
reduced claim for improved terms of notice money plus three weeks’
salary for every year of service, subject to a minimum of five months’
money and a maximum of 21 months’ money. “This meeting therefore
instructs BAJ negotiators to hold a ballot for industrial action
immediately over better redundancy terms for colleagues who have been
made redundant and better terms for remaining MGN journalists.”

According
to the BAJ it has 134 members eligible to take part in the strike out
of 470 journalists in total at the three titles. Action could include:
an overtime ban, work-to-rule, a ban on members handling Scottish Daily
Mirror material and strikes lasting up to a maximum of a day.

But
general secretary Steve Turner said in an email to journalists:
“Staffing levels are so low now that any action by 134 members is bound
to have a severe effect on production.”

He added: “The last thing
BAJ members want is to be engaged in industrial action, but we cannot
have the company walking all over us. The company has not budged an
inch over most of the redundancies or the terms.

“Hopefully the
company will yet see the sense of letting an independent arbitration
panel adjudicate on our differences without any harm coming to papers,
profits or journalists.”

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “We are
disappointed that the BAJ has chosen this course of action, given that
a large number of those staff affected have already agreed terms. We
await the outcome of the ballot with interest and hope for a speedy
resolution.”

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