National World journalists in Northern Ireland join strike action

National World journalists in Northern Ireland joined a UK-wide strike over pay.

More than 330 journalists at titles across the UK and Ireland, including staff at the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, took part in the industrial action.

In Northern Ireland, journalists with the Belfast News Letter newspaper joined colleagues in the first ever company-wide walkout.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said National World staff want the company to reflect on a 4.5% pay offer made in July, and instead offer “a pay package that reflects journalists’ hard work at the company”.

The union said it has previously engaged with the publisher through negotiations with Acas, attempting to reach an agreement that resolves the dispute.

They said National World’s “refusal to accept proposals” has resulted in the strike action.

An NUJ National World group chapel spokesperson said the “real-terms pay cut imposed by the company simply doesn’t do enough to recognise the hard work of our members or the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis”.

“It also fails to address pay disparities and low rates of pay that mean some of our trainee reporters – many of whom completed degrees just to get a foot in the door – are now having to take on second jobs to make ends meet,” they added.

Journalists will begin a work to rule on September 19, with further strike action planned on September 22 and 25

In Belfast, NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley, said workers have been forced to take strike action by the situation.

Industrial strike
Seamus Dooley, Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), on a picket line outside the Belfast News Letter office at Arthur House in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

He said: “This is the first of a series of one-day actions in iconic newspaper titles, and here in Belfast outside the offices of the Belfast News Letter, one of the most significant newspapers in Europe, and a very important newspaper in terms of Northern Ireland.

“Our members in Derry are protesting their part of the regional group which would have been known as Mortons,

“This is about pay, it’s about low-paid journalists. It’s about pay at National World, but it’s also focuses attention on the issue of low pay within the industry, the low-pay crisis within the newspaper sector nationally and particularly regionally.

“It’s something of concern not just to journalists, journalists cannot become a low-paid profession, it cannot become a profession available only to people with other income, and there is a real problem now in terms of low pay.”