Belfast Telegraph

Industrial action vote taken by Johnston Press staff

By Staff Reporter

Journalists at some of Northern Ireland's best-known newspapers have voted in support of industrial action.

Staff at the Johnston Press-owned News Letter, Derry Journal and the Morton Newspapers group of regional titles voted overwhelmingly in support of action in a dispute over pay, redundancy terms, staffing levels and changes to work practices.

The National Union of Journalists welcomed the vote and said it sent "a very strong signal."

Johnston Press plans to sell, close or slash costs at local newspaper titles it has deemed "sub-core".

These include the Londonderry Sentinel, Ballymena Times, Ballymoney Times, Banbridge Leader, Belfast Vibe and Tyrone Times.

A spokesman said the sub-core label "does not automatically mean we're about to close or sell these titles. These are the titles where we are looking to establish new innovative models to enable us to improve the levels of return".

Earlier this year it announced it was to cut up to 13 editorial jobs in Northern Ireland.

The Edinburgh-based group said profit for last year increased by 22.6% to £31.5m, while revenues were down 6.8%, to £242.3m. But total operating costs were cut by 6.7% to £191.7m.

The company said in its latest results statement: "We have identified news brands that are now considered non-core and will be either divested or run with less costs, reflecting the medium-term outlook for the identified assets.

"The company will run a formal process, with advisers, to market defined asset groups for sale during 2016."

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