NUJ members at Reach plc have voted by 79 per cent in favour of strike action over the ongoing pay dispute with the publisher.
The ballot achieved a turnout of 70 per cent as 749 members out of 1069 in the UK returned their ballot papers. 79 per cent voted in favour of strike action, with 88 per cent in favour of action short of a strike. The ballot closed at noon on 12 August 2022.
NUJ members across Reach titles include those at the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Manchester Evening News.
The NUJ is urging a return to negotiations by Reach senior management, with a fair and increased final offer that can be put to members.
Chris Morley, NUJ Reach national coordinator, said: “Our members have delivered a powerful message to Reach chiefs with the results today of this landmark ballot.
“It is unprecedented in the company’s history that more than 1,000 of its journalists have been mandated to take strike action and other industrial action. The fact that such a strong outcome has been achieved in the face of significant postal issues and in the peak holiday season should tell the company how determined our members are to achieve a better deal on their pay.
“We have given the company immediate formal notice of two rounds of strike action in the coming weeks because our members feel this situation cannot be allowed to drag on as they contend with the ravages of an unprecedented inflationary surge.
“With this result, our members are clearly saying that the company – which gave its top two executives pay packages worth more than £7m – can, and must, do much better than a meagre three per cent/£750 minimum increase on already inadequate pay.
He added: “The NUJ is ready and willing to achieve a negotiated settlement. But for that to happen, the company will need to understand that our members are prepared to stand up and be counted and are not willing to merely accept the crumbs off the millionaires’ table.”
Reach responded in a statement: “We greatly value our journalists and are disappointed that, despite our best efforts during the negotiation process and successful agreements with Unite and the BAJ, we have been unable to reach an agreement with the NUJ.
“Whilst this is not the outcome we would have wished for, we remain focused on protecting the interests of all our colleagues, ensuring the group has a sustainable future in the face of an uncertain economic backdrop.
“We have contingency plans in place to keep disruption to our titles to a minimum and are working to support our journalists who choose not to take action.”
Strike action will take place from 00:01 hours on 26 August 2022 until 23:59 hours on 26 August 2022, from 00:01 hours on 31 August 2022 until 23:59 hours on 31 August 2022, and from 00:01 hours on 14 September 2022 until 23:59 hours on 15 September 2022.
Action short of a strike, consisting of a work to rule, will also commence at 00:01 hours on 01 September 2022 and end at23:59 hours on 13 September 2022.