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Members of the NUJ at Newsquest titles in Essex are being balloted over pay

Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest titles in Essex are to hold a ballot on industrial action in response to concerns over pay.

According to a release from the union, members working at Colchester-based Essex County Newspapers and Newsquest South East Essex "have been forced to take action over the company's failure to negotiate adequately over pay".

This decision comes as the company reportedly plans to hold a delayed pay review in June this year. The ballot for Essex County Newspapers closes on 6 January and the ballot for Newsquest South East Essex closes on 17 January.

Both centres cover a total of 17 titles, including the Colchester Gazette, the Essex County Standard, Basildon Echo and Thurrock Gazette.

The union added that "if no pay awards are made in 2012 it will be the third year in four that Newsquest journalists' salaries have stood still".

"Staff have done all they can to support quality journalism and the Newsquest titles they work for," NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added. "Now it's time for the company to recognise it should pay staff a fair wage."  
 
According to a statement from Will Lodge, father of the Newsquest North Essex chapel, wages are down 13 per cent when compared to "what they would be if they had matched inflation".

Mother of the Newsquest South Essex chapel Sally King added that some staff have even turned to extra employment "just to meet bills".

"This year alone at this centre, we have had two members of staff leave the profession because they felt they just couldn't afford to work here," she is quoted in the release as saying.

Newsquest had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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