Express journalists being balloted on industrial action

MEMBERS of the National Union of Journalists working at the Express titles in Scotland are to be balloted on industrial action, following a breakdown in talks over pay.

The ballot will involve journalists working on both the daily and Sunday titles of the Express and the Star and is being held throughout the UK.

The NUJ says: “Journalists at the papers are angry that the company is refusing to move on an offer of three per cent, well below current levels of inflation. Employees at the company’s printers won a pay award of more than four per cent as part of a three-year deal linked to inflation.”

It will be interesting to see whether there is an appetite for industrial action among the Scottish titles, which is in expansionist mode.

From tomorrow, regular freelancer, Rod Mills, starts as chief reporter on the Scottish Daily Express, while former Daily Record sports sub-editor, Jason Cranwell, will be dividing his time between the sports production sides of the Scottish Daily Express and the Scottish Daily Star – Sunday.

It is also understood that owner, Richard Desmond, is committing the income being raised from recent cover price increases (eg the Scottish Daily Express from 30p to 35p, Monday – Friday) entirely towards editorial.

Says NUJ National Organiser, Barry Fitzpatrick: “We’ve done everything we can to come to an agreement with management at Express Newspapers but they simply aren’t taking our members’ concerns seriously enough. It’s disappointing the company won’t help its journalists keep up with RPI, particularly given how much its papers focus on the rate of inflation. Journalists at the papers feel they have no choice but to ballot for industrial action.”

The ballot will open on Thursday and run for three weeks until Wednesday, the 26th. The earliest action that could be taken would be seven days after the ballot result.