The Times of London, Britain's most distinguished daily newspaper, was shut down again Friday.
For the first time in its history, its journalists walked out on strike over pay, after last-ditch talks this morning failed.
The journalists' strike came nine months after the end of an 11 1/2 month shutdown by management that lasted almost a year and brought the paper close to permanent suspension. At issue then were printers' rights under new technology.
The Times management said no paper would be printed Saturday or Monday; The Sunday Times of London is published by a separate editorial staff. Managing Director Dugal Nisbet-Smith said that the strike was "a savage blow" to the company.
A labor arbitrator recently recommended in a nonbinding move that the journalists be granted an overall raise of 21 percent. But management said it could afford only 18 percent.
A spokesman for The Times company said that the paper was expected to lose $24 million this year.
The Times' owner, Lord Kenneth Thomson, has said that he would have to reconsider retaining control of the money-losing paper if he no longer had the loyalty of the staff.
Though the arbitrator's decision was not binding, the National Union of Journalists took the position that management had insisted on the procedure -- and thus should stick to the decision of the arbitrator, Prof. John Crossley of Leeds University.
The union vote, earlier in the week, was 83 to 37 in favor of striking.
A minority of the journalists on The Times said today that they were worried that walking out over a 3 percent difference might lead to the permanent shutdown of the newspaper.
But Jacob Ecclestone, head of The Times branch of the National Union of Journalists, said he did not accept The Times' statement that it was unable to pay the increase.