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Posted on 7 December 2010 at 15:16 GMT

Journalists strike at Newsquest in Southampton

Southampton journalists on strike, photo Nick Chaffey

Southampton journalists on strike, photo Nick Chaffey   (Click to enlarge)

Large numbers of striking NUJ members in Southampton formed pickets early this morning to intensify pressure on Newsquest over their dispute on pay, pensions terms and conditions.

The Southampton strikers were boosted by news that fellow Newsquest journalists in Brighton at the Argus were also on strike.

Journalists explained the reasons for the dispute, "Qualified journalists have faced falling pay for the last twenty years.

"To get through university and become a senior on my pay is a disgrace. Its important to stand up on pay and pensions and not allow the recession to be used as an excuse to keep pay down.

"We're dedicated and good journalists, they should be dedicated to us."The picket line "Striking Daily Echo" bulletin highlighted journalists have had a pay freeze since July 2008, loyalty bonuses have been scrapped and the final salary pension scrapped at the same time Newquest boss took a 21.5% pay rise to 612 000 salary and a 250% higher pension.

Tale of two worlds

This is the tale of the two worlds in Britain today.

Southern Echo NUJ members had previously taken strike action over pay in 2006 and won a small rise but were the only area to strike.

As well as NUJ members at the Argus joining the pay dispute, Newsquest NUJ members at Oxford, York, Bradford, Bolton and Blackburn are also being balloted over strike action.

Sally Churchward Southern Echo NUJ MOC said, "We are glad to see it moving towards a national dispute as pay is a national issue.

"I am very proud of our members standing up and very pleased with all the support we have had.

"We will meet and discuss with members to decide where things go from here." Send messages of support to dailyechochapel@yahoo.co.uk, strike blog at http://dailyechonuj.wordpress.com/

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