Journalists at Newsquest‘s Essex-based regional daily the Echo are holding a two-week work to rule followed by a three-day strike later this month.
NUJ members at the Basildon-headquartered title will begin working to rule on Monday 30 January followed by the strike action Monday 13 February.
The chapel also claimed that management has told non-unionised members of editorial teams at the Echo and its sister papers the, Colchester Gazette, Thurrock Gazette and Chelmsford and Brentwood Weekly News, that they will be awarded overtime payments for working 10-hour shifts during the strike action.
‘Members of the chapel voted overwhelmingly in favour of the strike action on the grounds that the company had introduced yet another pay freeze,’said the NUJ in a statement.
‘Newsquest Essex journalists have had only one two per cent pay increase in the last four years.
‘Staff were due a pay rise in January this year but were told this would not be given and would be reviewed again in June, but the company will not guarantee that any pay rises will be given then.”
Mother of the Chapel Sally King said: “No one wants to take this action.
‘It is a reflection of the deep disappointment and genuine concern that members have about their ability to pay bills that they voted this way.
“By freezing pay – and even when a rise is offered keeping it well below inflation – it seems members of staff are being penalised for their loyalty.”
NUJ members at Newsquest-owned Essex County Newspapers, based in Colchester, held a one-hour walkout tomorrow over a pay dispute after voting in favour of industrial action.
Martin McNeill, Newsquest Essex editorial director, said: ‘We would be very disappointed if the proposed industrial action by some of our south Essex journalists went ahead.
‘We have not imposed a pay freeze at Newsquest Essex. The company is not in a position to increase salaries at the moment, due to difficult trading conditions, but we have told staff we will review the situation in June.
‘A three-day strike would achieve nothing except the loss of three days’ pay for those involved.
‘We have always kept the door open for discussions on pay and other matters. We hope the NUJ will call off the proposed action and work constructively with us to achieve our targets for 2012.”