Blackpool Gazette staff mount strike

Journalists at the Blackpool Gazette are to strike the day after the 10 June European and local elections.

NUJ members voted in favour of the action after management refused to budge on a pay offer of three per cent.

The strike will last for 24 hours.

According to the NUJ 40 of the 50 editorial employees at Blackpool Gazette and Herald Ltd are union members.

Circulation at the Gazette has kept level at 36,000 in recent years, contrasting with most regional daily papers which have suffered declining sales. Companies House figures show the Gazette made £2.2 million profit in 2001 and £2.87 million in 2002.

The Gazette is owned by Johnston Press which reported pre-tax profits of £128 million last year (up 28 per cent) on turnover of £492 million.

Management at the Gazette said in a statement that only 36 per cent of editorial staff had voted in favour of the strike. The statement said: “The company offer combines a very fair basic increase with significant improvements in the existing salary structure.

“We have now made our best offer.

We have made it clear to the journalists that industrial action will not result in any improvements and will benefit no-one.”

The NUJ said the current pay offer would leave many senior journalists on £17,600.

By Dominic Ponsford

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