'WE ASKED them nicely for a living wage and they replied with a big stick. We've got to take that stick off them and beat them with it.' That's how young journalists on the newspapers in Greater Manchester owned by the Guardian Media Group described their decision to hold three two-day strikes over pay and derecognition.
It was that fighting spirit that infected last Saturday's national pay campaign meeting for journalists. Around 30 rank and file NUJ union members attended the meeting in Leeds, which was called by Northern Low Pay Committee to spread the action over pay. 'They left us no choice. Then 100 percent voted for strikes,' said one of the Lancashire journalists. 'Then they derecognised us, and that gave us even greater reason to strike.' The strike, due to go ahead on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week, follows victories at Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield, and at the national Express and Star Group.
The meeting collected £227, which was split between Guardian Media Group journalists and striking medical secretaries from Sunderland. Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, backed calls for a pay fight across the whole union.