Votes for strike action over pay will set the mood for this year's annual delegate conference of the NUJ journalists' union in Eastbourne. Four local newspaper workplace union branches have now voted for strike ballots. This is after one half-day strike brought victory for journalists at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus group.
The strike in Bradford, the first in the country to win back recognition, was the first in over a decade over pay. The latest chapels (workplace union branches) to join the pay campaign are the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post chapel-which is not even recognised-where they voted unanimously for a strike ballot, and the Guardian-owned Northern Weekly group.
Workers at the Wakefield Express and joint Yorkshire Post/ Leeds Evening Post chapel are already balloting.
The action, being led by young journalists, has breathed real life into the union's low pay campaign. The surge in strike votes, as with other groups of workers, reflects a deep mood of anger among rank and file trade unionists which now needs to be turned into action.
Journalists who have suffered years of low pay following derecognition and the defeat at Wapping will now have a chance to take the fight into their own hands. Conference will be able to debate how best to encourage the mood for resistance across the whole of the union, where jobs are also threatened in all sectors. Delegates will also discuss the union's stand against the war, and affiliating to the Anti Nazi League.