A roadsign pointing left with the words strike on it.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) are set to go on strike over pay at newspaper publisher Reach plc. Reach is the largest commercial news publisher in the UK, and owns major titles including the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Manchester Evening News.

NUJ members will walk out at Reach owned titles on August 26, August 31, September 14 and September 15.

The (NUJ) balloted a total of 1093 members employed by Reach. On a turnout of 70 per cent, 79 per cent voted in favour of strike action, and 88 per cent in favour of action short of a strike.

In addition to strike action, NUJ members at Reach plc will be working to rule from 1-13 September.

The NUJ is now urging for Reach senior management to return to negotiations 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.

Morley continued,

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 3%/£750 minimum increase on already inadequate pay.

We very much hope that the company has the good grace and humility to recognise it made a mistake in making this poor offer against the backdrop of this cost-of-living turmoil. And rather than trigger the planned damaging walkouts by doing nothing, senior management are urged to now come forward with meaningful proposals to resolve the dispute.

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.

Our members earn very modest pay for the vital – but stressful – part they play in keeping the public informed around the clock. They know that a company that can make a £14m half-year dividend payment to shareholders next month can do more to make its journalists’ salaries more competitive.

The NUJ’s decision to take strike action comes as trade unions are intensifying their campaigns for improved pay and conditions for their members.

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Image credit: Nick Youngson – Creative Commons