Telegraph strike 'not cancelled'

Telegraph Group journalists insisted this week that the three-day strike due to start on Wednesday has merely been suspended and not cancelled.

Father of the chapel John Carey told an NUJ solidarity meeting in Victoria on Tuesday night: "The strike has been postponed for four weeks while we go back to the company and talk in more detail about the issues that remain. There's still a long way to go for us."

He said journalists still reject the principle of imposing job cuts or changes to working practices without negotiation.

Carey said: "We are a recognised union and we have a house agreement. If there are going to be significant changes to work practices then there has to be some reward for that.

"What we are making a stand about is defending the quality of journalism that The Telegraph produces — whether in newspapers, online or via podcasts and vodcasts.

"For the first time the company has actually backed down and said, yes we will listen to you, take on board what you say, and talk about it."

Journalists are unhappy about 54 imposed redundancies and changes to work practices, following the move last month from Canary Wharf to Victoria. These include Saturday working for all subs and early morning starts for reporters.

Carey said: "At the moment the company is adamant that they are not going to pay any more money for the move to Victoria and all that entails. That remains for us a key principle."

He said that "quality has already been hit" by the cutting of 150 journalists at Telegraph Group over the past two years. "We have been told we were mad and that we were making ludicrous demands. We are in favour of change, but what we are not in favour of is change without consulting us, because we do know a bit about the jobs we do."

Following the NUJ decision last Friday to call off the strike, Telegraph management said in a statement: "The Telegraph Media Group welcomes the NUJ's decision to suspend the threatened strike action.

"Further talks about the introduction of new working rotas with editorial representatives are scheduled.

"The new integrated print and online system, in which there has been huge investment, is already working well, and we are confident that it will go from strength to strength."

n Journalists on The Guardian looked likely this week to accept a pay deal which would see the paper's 69 internet journalists get rises of up to £12,000. Guardian mother of chapel Helen Mulholland said that management was this week expected to confirm a £500,000 offer, which would include at least 3 per cent for journalists on the newspaper and substantially more for web journalists, in order to give them closer parity to print colleagues.

She described the new pay offer as "a great result", but warned that the NUJ is sceptical about management moves to more "flexible working".

She said: "If you take away the paper's no compulsory redundancies clause, The Guardian will go out [on strike]."

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