29 August 2014

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Industrial action spreads to second Newsquest daily

Journalists working for Newsquest Bradford have followed their colleagues in York by voting to take industrial action over pay.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Bradford chapel, which includes the Telegraph and Argus, have been balloted for action after claims that management have imposed a pay freeze.

The chapel says a vote for action was taken because journalists have had their pay frozen for three out of the last four years.

Journalists at Newsquest York, which includes The Press, announced earlier this week that they would hold a mandatory chapel meeting tomorrow at 4pm because of their pay freeze.

Bradford father of chapel Bob Smith said: “The vote in favour of industrial action by members at Newsquest Bradford is an indication of the anger and frustration felt by journalists who have had their pay frozen for three of the past four years.

“The company locally made pre-tax profits of £1.87m last year, while group directors were rewarded with performance-related pay totalling £268,000 at a time when editorial bosses tell our company is not hitting financial targets.

“It’s time for Newsquest to stop punishing its staff and start investing in its most valuable asset: the journalists who create the content without which there is no business.”

The Bradford chapel has yet to decide what action it will take.

Other titles in the Newsquest Bradford group include the Ilkley Gazette, Keighley News and Wharfedale & Airedale Observer.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, added: “Newsquest is beginning to face a revolt among its staff who have been asked to accept a pay freeze while the company makes good profits and its American shareholders prosper.”

Managers at Newquest Bradford have yet to respond to requests for a comment.

5 Comments

  1. John

    Don’t want to sound harsh, but speaking as an out of work journalist, a pay freeze hardly seems a just enough reason to go on strike. You have a job = happy days.

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  2. Suddenly sprightly old hack, Berkshire

    Understood John, IF the pay freeze applied to all! But you and they are paying, while others continue to take while bleating about how hard business is these days. Sometimes frustration just gets too great and the boys and girls are sick of hearing the same, tired old rubbish from their ‘masters.’ Industrial action always was, and should be a last resort. This is probably that last resort. Good luck to them.

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  3. Whitehouse boy, Ipswich

    “…group directors were rewarded with performance-related pay totalling £268,000″. Doesn’t sound like much of a pay-freeze for some John. Oh, and where is the mention of a strike?

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  4. interested observer

    Shame that that there wasn’t the stomach from certain Newsquest centres to join what could have been a national strike – which was what the union wanted. The time for that has probably passed now, but it would have had massively more impact on the company than action taken at individual newspapers.
    I take John’s point about people being out of work and those who are in work being grateful for their jobs. However there is a feeling that Newsquest has ‘played’ journalists for far too long by exaggerating its gloomy economic outlook as a lever to continue to keep costs down.

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  5. ivylikes, Hants

    Good luck…

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