Northern Ireland

Johnston Press journalists vote to approve strike action

Johnston Press owns the News Letter, the Londonderry Sentinel, the Ballymoney Times and a number of other Northern Ireland publications
Image caption Johnston Press owns the News Letter, the Londonderry Sentinel, the Ballymoney Times and a number of other Northern Ireland publications

Journalists at Johnston Press in Northern Ireland have voted overwhelmingly to approve strike action.

The company owns the News Letter, the Derry Journal and the Morton Newspapers chain.

The strike ballot was in response to cutting 13 editorial positions.

It does not mean a strike is inevitable but one can now be called at a week's notice.

Johnston is an Edinburgh-based firm which owns more than 200 papers across the UK.

The trade publication Press Gazette estimates that Johnston has shed around half its journalists in five years.

The company has been struggling with long-term falls in sales.

However, Nicola Coleman of the NUJ said that while journalists face "yet another attack on their working conditions and struggle to serve their communities and produce quality newspapers, senior executives in Johnston Press are rewarding themselves handsomely".

Ms Coleman, the union's Irish organiser, said the company's annual report revealed a bonus arrangement "for the retention and 'incentivisation' of senior managers (excluding executive directors) of £3.9m".

She added: "This is in stark contrast to how our members are treated, having endured pay freezes for years and who have only recently seen small percentage increases to their salaries, while restructure after restructure has reduced editorial staffing levels by more than half and wiped out almost all promotional opportunities."

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