Two groups of journalists in the south of England – employed by the same multi-national company – are preparing to take industrial action over a pay freeze and cut backs.
Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest Hampshire have voted 78 percent for strike action and 95 percent for industrial action short of a strike.
The ballot result was announced on Wednesday.
Yesterday – October 21 – the Hampshire journalists were joined by colleagues at Newsquest Sussex in Brighton who also agreed to hold a ballot for industrial action.
Both chapels – workplace branches – are angry about a pay freeze for staff that has lasted more than 1,000 days.
But Newsquest’s employees aren’t all in this together. The company accounts show that last year the highest paid director trousered a rise of 21.5 percent.
In Brighton there is also concern that some editorial tasks are being moved to Southampton.
Newsquest, Britain’s second biggest regional newspaper publisher, is an arm of the big American company Gannett.
Gracia Martore, Gannett’s chief financial officer, said on Friday 15 October 2010: "Let me once and for all dispel the myth that Newsquest doesn't make money. Newsquest makes a lot of money.”
The company’s journalists wonder why they are facing a pay freeze and attacks on their pensions.