Strike threat to Indy budget coverage

Journalists at the Independent titles could disrupt coverage of the budget next month with a strike over pay.

Ballot papers went out on Friday over whether NUJ members at the titles are prepared to take industrial action. A decision will be known on 14 March.

This leaves time for staff to call a walkout before the Chancellor delivers his budget statement on 22 March.

The Independent titles are understood to have a relatively high proportion of NUJ members among editorial staff — around two-thirds. Journalists have rejected a pay offer of 2.5 per cent and put in a claim for five per cent.

Meanwhile, at the Mirror titles, a threatened strike over redundancy terms has been called off after their union, the British Association of Journalists, failed to get a majority of members to vote in favour of action.

Out of the 136 BAJ members at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People, 49 voted in favour of a strike and 37 against. Sixty-seven were in favour of action short of a strike and 17 against.

In a letter to members, BAJ general secretary Steve Turner said: "It would be morally wrong to take industrial action unless the majority of BAJ members at MGN voted for the action."

Turner has called the redundancy terms for 39 journalists who recently lost their jobs on the titles "the worst on Fleet Street apart from The Independent".

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