Telegraph strike shelved as Express staff walk out

By Dominic Ponsford

A threatened strike at the Telegraph Group has been dropped after
guarantees made to union officials – but at Express Newspapers
journalists have gone ahead with a planned walk-out.

Telegraph management has promised staff: no more redundancies for
one year, full consultation with the NUJ before decisions are taken on
the future of The Weekly Telegraph and and full
consultation about any changes to work patterns resulting from the job

Staff voted in favour of strike action in protest at 90
redundancies, 80 of which were voluntary, out of a total Daily and
Sunday Telegraph headcount of 521.

Some 135 union members took
part in the vote (about half of those eligible)n and of those, 74 per
cent voted in favour of a strike.

It is understood that the
decision not to strike was partly because of the low turnout and the
view that with cutbacks completed there was little to be gained by

In deciding to drop the strike threat, the NUJ chapel
passed a motion saying: “This chapel reiterates its condemnation of the
mass job cuts and the failure of the company to follow the proper
consultation process.

“But, it welcomes the guarantees given on jobs and future consultation. Consequently, it resolves not to proceed with industrial action at this time.

however, the company fails to honour the commitments it has given
today, the chapel instructs the committee to call an immediate,
mandatory chapel meeting and, if necessary, to organise another ballot
on industrial action.”

Meanwhile at Express Newspapers, a
threatened two-hour mandatory union meeting went ahead on Friday after
staff voted in favour of a strike two weeks ago.

management threatened a legal challenge to the action and also told
staff wishing to take part not to attend work that day. But in the
event, no staff were locked out and no legal challenge was forthcoming.

Some 70 NUJ members left work between 4pm and 6pm to attend a union meeting at Davy’s Wine Bar.

protest went ahead despite the fact that union members at the company’s
offices in Broughton, Lancashire, and Glasgow have already accepted the
3.3 per cent pay offer on the table.

Union officials were due to
meet management on Thursday (14 April)n and were hopeful there would be
some movement on minimum holiday entitlements (currently 23 days) and
pay for more junior journalists.

NUJ chapel official Steve Usher
said: “We told non-NUJ members and those who hadn’t taken part in the
ballot not to come out because they wouldn’t have been protected by law.

took part in the action but got their jobs done as well. We are all
professionals, we didn’t want to disrupt the production of the paper
but wanted to send a message to management.”

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