Strike at Belfast Telegraph is averted

A second 48-hour strike has been avoided at the Belfast Telegraph after journalists voted to accept a revised management deal.

Independent News & Media refused to budge on its original pay offer of three per cent, but it has offered journalists extra holiday for long service.

The dispute centred around Telegraph journalists feeling they were badly paid compared to colleagues on sister papers such as the Irish Independent and the Independent in London.

IN&M said it set pay for journalists at the Telegraph by comparing levels in the UK regional press rather than the nationals.

A 48-hour strike was held on 7 and 8 May and a second stoppage was planned for 1 and 2 June this week.

But union members called it off after a chapel meeting last Wednesday.

According to the NUJ the agreed deal is for a basic pay rise of three per cent with increases of between six and 10 per cent for the lowest paid. The union said management had also agreed to a further review of pay for around a dozen other journalists.

Editorial staff will now also qualify for an extra day’s holiday for every five years of service.

NUJ Irish organiser Des Fagan said: “There was a commitment from management to complete the house agreement in the next couple of weeks.

Local union officers went into talks with local management and they felt there was the basis for an agreement.

“The union originally took industrial action on the basis that the company wouldn’t give extra holidays or go to arbitration.”

A spokesman for IN&M declined to comment.

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