The Daily Express and Daily Mirror are considering launching online editions in the US, even though their UK journalists are currently on strike over low pay.
Staff at UK news outlets have yet to be told of the proposals for expansion across the Atlantic, which have been the subject of internal discussions for some time.
Company sources said the project would involve hiring dozens of staff to work on a US version of the right-wing Express, with a similar number working on a US edition of the left-leaning Mirror.
Despite their different political outlook, the two publications are owned by publisher Reach, which declined to comment on the plans.
Jim Mullen, the chief executive of Reach, who has become the center of staff anger over his £4million pay deal, is said to have eyed the American public reading the MailOnline (DailyMail to American readers) and the Sun. These outlets attracted a significant online following by carrying British tabloid values across the Atlantic with a focus on celebrity news.
The prospect of new employees in the United States being hired to write articles for the Express and the Mirror is unlikely to improve relations between British employees and their bosses.
Journalists for Reach’s UK and Irish publications – which include the Mirror, Express, Daily Star and dozens of local newspapers – have complained of low morale and pay, with junior staff earning less than £20,000 a day. year even after years of training.
Despite high inflation and a cost of living crisis, Reach management refuses to consider raising the existing salary offer beyond a 3% increase. After a first day of strike on Wednesday, during which hundreds of journalists walked off the job, the National Union of Journalists ordered its members to work to reign and not to work overtime. A new three-day strike is due to begin on September 13.
Reach’s offices were picketed by staff on Wednesday, including the company’s headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, with staff from all publications standing together.
Richard Palmer, royal correspondent for the Daily Express and head of the newspaper’s union chapel, said staff needed more money. “People are struggling, especially young digital journalists,” he said. “I know people who take second jobs to try to make ends meet.”
He blamed senior executives, particularly Mullen. “It’s about us screwing up on labor costs so they can make more money for themselves and for shareholders,” Palmer added.
Express staff received a message of solidarity from the RMT union, which is currently organizing strikes on the rail network.
Palmer said that support was noted in the Express newsroom, despite the publication’s editorials regularly warning that unions risked “bringing the country to its knees”.
He said: “A lot of young people have said that Mick Lynch [secretary general of the RMT] and the RMT made them aware of what trade unions are. All newspapers have editorial lines, journalists working for newspapers do not necessarily always agree with the editorial line. In any walk of life, who agrees with their employer on everything? »