EXCLUSIVE: Mr Monkey can reveal workers at Newsquest North East based in Darlington are angry about job cuts and a pay freeze and have voted for industrial action in a secret ballot.
They now plan to hold mandatory union meetings at noon on Monday 5 January, Tuesday 6 January, and Wednesday 7 January.
On 5 January journalists at the Newsquest centre in York – fifty miles down the road – will receive the results of their ballots for industrial action over similar issues.
Jenny Lennox, Assistant Organiser for the North of England said:
“The Newsquest chapels in the North East had both been offered pay rises during negotiations before the company snatched them away and imposed a pay freeze.
“At both centres there have been big job cuts and the heart has been ripped out of papers that played a significant part in the distinctive cultural life of the region – and helped to hold the communities together.
“Our New Year’s message is that members are determined to stand up for each other and to stand up for journalism.”
The Darlington Newsquest centre publishes the daily Northern Echo, the Darlington and Stockton Times, the Durham Times and the Advertiser series of free papers – employing around 100 editorial staff.
Mr Monkey reckons that if the financial problems at the Gazette’s parent company, plummeting advertising revenues and falling circulation figures continue, staff at Chapter Row may be forced in to taking similar action to protect their jobs.
So if it’s about cost cutting, perhaps it’s time to carry out a job evaluation – what better place to start than with the editor because he seems to spend most of his time hiding up Malcolm’s arse.