Daily Echo workers strike again

6th Jan 2011 - Andrew Howe

Daily Echo workers on the picket line - Click to view a larger versionWorkers at local Southampton newspaper the Daily Echo took strike action today. Members of the NUJ have been in dispute with management at the Daily Echo since their last pay review in July 2010, when their pay was frozen. Workers accepted the pay freeze at the time, due to the poor economy and recession, however parent company Newsquest has since announced pre-tax profits of almost £80 million. This is a clear sign that the company is performing well, however pay has remained frozen. Workers also discovered that the pay freeze was not company wide, as they had believed, with the chief executive giving himself as 21% pay rise. A loyalty payment scheme has also been stopped, with employees missing out on further earnings.

Workers first took strike action in November 2010, after talks with management broke down. Following the two day strike, another two days went ahead in December, and today marks the first in a three day strike. NUJ organizer David Brine emphasized that the money is available to pay all employees properly. “We don't want to be doing this,” he said, “we'd much rather be doing our jobs.” He went on to say that the strike action was for fairness for staff, and for fair pay from a highly profitable company.

Staff levels at the Daily Echo have been consistently reduced every year, with remaining staff doing more work for less. The fact that the workers haven't been given a pay rise since 2008 may not seem so bad, but with the cost of living constantly on the rise, they have effectively been given an increasing pay cut.

Workers will be picketing the head office of Newsquest in Weybridge on Friday.

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