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Regional journalists to take industrial action next week

Journalists at a regional daily have announced they will take further industrial action before Christmas in an ongoing row over pay.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest York, which which includes daily title The Press and sister weekly the Gazette and Herald, notified management today that they will be holding a mandatory meeting next week.

The latest action follows a series of mandatory chapel meetings over recent weeks in protest at a third year of pay freezes at the company.

One of the meetings led to a full-scale walkout last month after staff were told they would be docked a full day’s pay following the series of stoppages.

Joint Fathers of Chapel in York, Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, released a statement which read: “We are nearing the end of yet another year which has seen journalists in York struggle to make ends meet while Newsquest pleads poverty, despite making sizeable profits for American shareholders and demands more and more of its employees with no financial reward.

“It means an unhappy Christmas for York journalists and we are determined not to let it arrive without having demonstrated our frustration and anger at the lack of fair play and fair pay from Newsquest yet again in 2012.

“We also want to make it clear this dispute is not going away while this morale-sapping pay freeze continues.”

“We have fought in 2012 and we will continue to fight in 2013 if necessary.

“Our pay claim for next year, made in conjunction with our colleagues in Bradford and Darlington – whose continued support and solidarity we welcome – ahead of the January pay review date for all three Newsquest Yorkshire & North East centres, takes into account years of pay freezes, and we are now awaiting our management’s response.

“We sincerely hope this dispute can be resolved quickly and amicably, allowing 2013 to be a year of happy and quality journalism in York and making proud and respected newspapers better than ever.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said a Newsquest trainee starting out at a weekly could start on as low as £7.52 an hour, not counting any extra hours worked.

“The cost of living has increased and our members living standards have been hit hard. Newsquest need to invest in staff and improve pay rates,” she added.

No one from Newsquest York has so far been available for comment.

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