Union members went on strike on 9 and 10 November over a pay freeze that has been in place since 2008 and Newsquest's closure of its staff pension scheme to future accrual. But the NUJ called off a second planned 48 hours of action the following week after a meeting with Newsquest management was called.
Representatives from the union hoped the meeting, which was held yesterday, would be an opportunity to discuss the pensions and pay issues. But Southern Daily Echo editor Ian Murray told Journalism.co.uk prior to the meeting that the pay freeze and pensions dispute would not be up for negotiation.
"Management remains open to listening to other issues the members may raise, but it was the NUJ's decision to call off the strike and request a meeting and it is for them to come forward with any new points for consideration having exhausted previous avenues of discussion," he said at the time.
Union representatives at the paper have voiced concern over management's reluctance to accept suggested resolutions to the dispute put forward by the NUJ.
"Our members were very keen to come to an agreement to avoid further industrial action but unfortunately all of our suggestions - such as a one-off payment for staff - were refused and no offer was made by management. Staff at the Echo are very proud of the paper and do not wish to harm it or its reputation but we feel that we have no choice but to stand up against ongoing unfair treatment," says Sally Churchward, secretary of the Southern Daily Echo chapel, in a release.
David Brine, father of the Southern Daily Echo chapel, said strike action was "always a last resort".
Journalism.co.uk will update this story with Newsquest's response.
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