Argus journalists to go on third strike

Posted On 02 Jan 2011 at 7:43 am

Journalists working at Brighton and Hove’s daily local newspaper, The Argus, have voted to go on strike for a third time.

The strike, by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), is due to take place on Thursday (6 January) and Friday (7 January).

Staff at The Argus have already picketed the Argus offices in Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, twice in the past few months.

They have also set up a website to explain their dispute.

They were protesting about six news sub-editors being made redundant by Newsquest, which owns The Argus, as more work is switched to Newsquest’s Southampton offices.

The six sub-editors lost their jobs a week before Christmas.

The journalists were also protesting about a three-year pay freeze imposed by the company.

Their anger was fuelled by a six-figure pay rise awarded to Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson.

His salary went up from £501,000 in 2008 to £609,000 in 2009.

And having been told that job losses were vital because of Newsquest’s financial position, they were angered to hear a different story from Gannett, the American company that owns Newsquest.

Healthy profits

Gannett’s chief operating officer, Gracia Martore, told US investment analysts that Newsquest, its British newspaper publishing division, was making healthy profits.

The financial picture for 2009 can be found in the company’s most recent annual report by clicking here.

It shows that Newsquest made an operating profit of £71 million.

One NUJ member said: “There are rumours going round that a pay rise of 2 per cent is in the offing.

“It’s not quite the 20 per cent that Paul Davidson got.

“And it won’t bring back the six subs or Paul Holden, the Worthing reporter, who went a few months ago in this latest round of redundancies.

“What’s astonishing is that a local newspaper company doesn’t seem to realise how damaging it is to keep shifting jobs out of the local area.

“There will be advertisers and readers who must wonder why they should support their local newspaper when it doesn’t support them.

“It’s getting rid of local jobs and increasingly buying its supplies from outside the area that we’re supposed to serve. It’s crazy.

“We won’t be able to save those jobs now by going on strike but hopefully we will secure a pay rise after three years of suffering a real-terms pay cut.”

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