22 October 2014

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Journalists in pay freeze dispute step up industrial action

Journalists working for a regional daily will take industrial action every day this week as their dispute with management over a pay freeze steps up a gear.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newquest York, which publishes The Press, will hold a mandatory chapel meeting at 10am each day this week.

It follows a series of compulsory meetings held by the chapel over the last month, with the journalists claiming they have had no pay rise for three out of the last four years.

Their colleagues in Newsquest Bradford have also joined the dispute over the pay freeze and will hold their second mandatory meeting this Wednesday from noon.

The union is also questioning the salary packages of senior Newsquest staff in comparison to average wage levels among its journalists.

It says that since 2009, staff at York and Bradford have had a single 2pc pay rise in 2011 while the Retail Price Index has increased by 12pc in that period.

Mark Stead, joint father of chapel in York, said: “Outstanding, award-winning journalists in York who give everything for a proud paper are struggling to ends meet and being asked to sympathise with Newsquest’s pleas of poverty, while directors pocket their share of six-figure performance payments and a profitable company makes positive noises about its current health and its prospects for the future.”

Last week, HTFP revealed that journalists at the York chapel were demanding answers about a £44,000 payment in the accounts of Newsquest Yorkshire & North East Ltd, which was made in 2010.

They also claim that the company made a pre-tax profit of £1.87m in 2011.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: “There is no exaggeration that there is a crisis in local and regional news.  But it isn’t the recession or the downturn in advertising revenue to blame.

“It is the likes of Newsquest which has not been investing in the product and has instead been creaming off profits for shareholders and bloated executive pay.”

Management at Newsquest York declined to comment.

1 Comment

  1. stewart perkins

    Shareholders and execs creaming off profits? Shurely shome mishtake? Good luck to the NUJ members in their fight against an appalling management.

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