Nine’s print journalists prepare to strike

Journalists at some of Australia’s biggest newspapers are set to strike over a long-running pay dispute.

Photo: AAP/Joel Carrett

Photo: AAP/Joel Carrett

Several hundred union members at Nine mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, WAToday and The Brisbane Times will stop work from the first newsroom shift in the early hours of Thursday for 24 hours.

Journalists are pushing for a 15.5 per cent pay rise over three years.

Nine has declined to comment, but in an all-staff meeting at noon on Monday, publishing division managing director James Chessell briefed journalists on a revised two-year offer, comprising four per cent in the first year followed by 3.5 per cent.

Journalists earning more than $170,000 per year would receive a 2.5 per cent increase each year.

“It is critical to balance the interests of the broader Nine group, the considerable cost headwinds facing publishing and the interests of staff,” he said in the meeting.

The strike could stretch into a 48-hour stoppage if progress is not made, Mark Phillips from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has confirmed.

“The ball is in management’s court to make a better offer,” he told AAP.

Other sticking points include automatic grading progression for junior reporters, minimum standards for freelancers and recognition of a charter of editorial independence.

In August Nine announced record profits for 2021/22 with a statutory net profit of $315 million, up 71 per cent on the previous full year.

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Its publishing division, including mastheads The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, saw pre-tax earnings lift 53 per cent to $62 million.

The company also paid a record dividend to shareholders of 14 cents per share.

The results released a fortnight ago have hardened the resolve of union members, Phillips said.


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