Southern Daily Echo staff strike over pay and pensions

Image caption,
About 40 union members were on strike outside the paper throughout Tuesday

Staff at the Southern Daily Echo newspaper have gone on a 48-hour strike over a pay and pensions dispute.

About 40 editorial staff who are members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) went on strike outside the Southampton paper earlier.

They say they are taking action after a pay freeze since June 2008, the closure of the final salary pension scheme and the scrapping of loyalty payments.

Editor-in-chief Ian Murray said management had invested in jobs.

'Messages of support'

The strike is due to continue on Wednesday, with a further two-day strike planned for 16 and 17 November.

Sally Churchward, NUJ chapel secretary and senior features writer, said those on strike had been "flooded with messages of support from all around the country".

"Any serious offer from management - even a partial reinstatement of loyalty payments would have been enough to avert a strike," she said.

"We just wanted something, but were offered absolutely nothing."

Those taking action, including reporters, sub-editors, feature writers and photographers, carried banners and placards outside the paper's offices in Test Lane, Redbridge.

'Very disappointed'

Ms Churchward said the number on strike was about 70 to 75% of editorial staff.

Mr Murray said: "I'm very disappointed that some staff working at the paper felt the need to take industrial action but this has not affected the production of any of our newspapers.

"We have been working hard to ensure we invest in jobs here at our Southampton headquarters, and indeed have been interviewing to fill more posts this week.

"We have also invested in new technology as part of on-going efforts to ensure our Redbridge headquarters remains central to our publishing strategy and a hub for editorial excellence."

Newsquest, which owns the paper, declined to comment.

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