The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is re-balloting members working for Johnston Press after the courts granted the company an injunction against their strike last week.
The union will also be balloting members in Scotland following the company’s refusal to rule out compulsory job cuts.
Any action as a result of the ballot will be coordinated across the group.
Johnston Press claims the company does not employ any journalists—something which came as a shock to the 550 NUJ members who receive pay slips stamped Johnston Press.
Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, said, “Johnston Press plc closed the group-wide pension scheme. Johnston Press plc imposed the group-wide pay freeze. Johnston Press plc imposed the group-wide introduction of the ATEX content management system.
“Yet Johnston Press plc has worked hard to ensure that under the anti-trade union laws, we are forced to have a dispute not with it, but with each and every one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. It is patently unfair and the law is an ass.”
The original ballot was over the implementation of the new computer system, ATEX, a pay freeze and changes to working conditions.
Journalists working at the publisher Newsquest in Stourbridge in the West Midlands are to ballot for industrial action in defence of three colleagues forced to move to a centre 30 miles away.
NUJ members took part in a protest at the Trinity Mirror shareholders’ annual meeting in London last week. Journalists and shareholders questioned bosses about receiving exorbitant pay packages and bonuses while sacking journalists.
Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey pocketed £1.68 million last year.
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