NUJ staff at Newsquest in Cumbria vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin

The NUJ chapel at Newsquest in Cumbria has voted in favour of strike action by 87.5%.

The chapel has had a long-running dispute with the publisher over redundancies and a pay freeze. Newsquest completed the acquisition of Cumbrian media firm CN Group, which owns The Cumberland News and Cumbria Life titles, in March this year.

In October, the company banned NUJ meetings at its Carlisle HQ, meaning they had to be held at council offices instead. The union also lodged a claim for a 5% pay increase, saying staff had not had a pay rise for eight out of the last 12 years, but this was rejected by Newsquest.

In June, Newsquest sacked four photographers in Cumbria - a move which was described by the NUJ as “a cut too far”. The union claimed job losses had totalled 100 since the takeover of CN Group.

Jane Kennedy, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: "It is no surprise to us that the chapel have come out so strongly to vote for action. We have tried very hard with the company to reach a negotiated settlement but they simply refused to enter into meaningful discussions.

“Indeed their petty and spiteful decision do refuse to allow the chapel to meet in the workplace has only strengthened the resolve of the chapel to press on for a fair pay settlement.

"Since Newsquest has taken over we have only seen redundancies and empty promises. Our members are working harder than ever to try and maintain the quality local journalism that has been the hallmark of CN Group.

“They do this despite Newsquest not because of them; NUJ members are just seeking a fair reward for their hard work and call on the company to come back to the negotiating table."

The chapel will be meeting on Wednesday to decide the next steps following today's result.

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