Journalists working at Mirror Group Newspapers have voted in favour of strike action over proposals to axe around 200 journalists.
Eighty-three of the 159 members of the British Association of Journalists union at MGN returned ballots ahead of the deadline on Tuesday, with 65 per cent of those (54 members) voting in favour of strike action.
Members of the union were due to attend a meeting on the editorial floor at Trinity Mirror‘s Canary Wharf headquarters last night to discuss what form of action to take.
Press Gazette understands the strike options due to be discussed included stoppages lasting just a few hours, a half-day or the more extreme option of a full day walkout.
The BAJ is expected to work with members of the National Union of Journalist in order to coordinate strike action while it continues talks with MGN management.
The union has asked MGN to consider reducing the number of planned redundancies, limiting job losses to volunteers, improving the redundancy terms on offer to encourage more volunteers and ditching some outsourcing plans.
According to a memo circulated to members, the BAJ was surprised by the large number that did not cast a vote.
A Trinity Mirror source told Press Gazette that the vote in favour of action equated to just 13 per cent of the 410 staff journalists involved in the redundancy consultation.
The union has asked the Electoral Reform Service to check the number of ballots returned after the deadline as it had received reports of postal delays and ballot papers not reaching its members.
The union fears that non-delivery of papers and delays in transit may have cost votes.
A Trinity Mirror spokesman told Press Gazette that the company that they would challenge the union over the vote.
He said: “The majority of our staff are not in favour of this action and in any case we have been advised that the format and conduct of the strike ballot was deeply flawed. We have now asked the BAJ to confirm that they will not call for a strike based on this result.”
The strike ballot was set in motion last month by an announcement from Trinity Mirror, parent company of MGN, of plans to cut around 200 editorial jobs across the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People.
Press Gazette revealed last week that around 32 journalists had so far applied under the voluntary redundancy scheme put in place by Trinity Mirror.
As part of the planned cull of staff, around 60 casuals are expected to be dropped with the remaining 140 cuts coming from the staff – reducing the total editorial workforce by about a quarter from its current level of 554.
Trinity Mirror plans to adopt a multimedia newsroom similar to those introduced at its regional newspaper centres and to outsource much of its sub-editing.
Managers at MGN are understood to be in discussions solely with the Press Association over proposals to outsource certain production tasks.