Journalists at Newsquest York have staged their second walk-out in a matter of weeks as attempts to settle a long-running pay dispute turned sour.
Bosses at the regional centre, which publishes The Press and the Gazette and Herald, confirmed they will dock a day’s pay from members of the National Union of Journalists chapel who took part in a mandatory chapel meeting yesterday.
The union claims that managers had previously told them they would not be docked pay and accused the company of a U-turn.
However the company insists it did warn the union that members who took part in what they labelled “disruptive industrial action” would lose a day’s pay, adding that it remains open to talks to early January to discuss the union’s 2013 pay claim.
Yesterday’s 10-minute mandatory was the latest in an ongoing protest at being refused a pay rise for the third year out of four.
Last month, members walked out in response to being docked a day’s pay following a series of similar chapel meetings.
The NUJ said the journalists had been warned they faced losing a further day’s pay if they went ahead with any industrial action today but proceeded with the meeting anyway.
Following the company’s announcement, Joint Fathers of Chapel at the York branch, Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, released a statement warning that the decision to dock pay was a “huge setback” in reaching a settlement.
“Our members took action today fully aware of the potential consequences and did so because principles mean more than money,” they added.
In an earlier statement, they said they were “proud” of their members for showing solidarity.
They added: “We sincerely hope talks with management early in the New Year can secure fair play and fair pay for 2013 and this situation can be resolved quickly.
“However, our chapel has made it crystal clear that it is determined to continue its fight to secure the pay talented, dedicated and award-winning York journalists deserve for as long as is necessary.”
A company spokesman said members had been told last week that they were open to talks in early January to discuss a pay claim for 2013, which was submitted in conjunction with chapels in Bradford and Darlington.
But they added that members who took part in what they labelled “disruptive industrial action” would lose a day’s pay as previously warned, and confirmed that the decision had led to the journalists heading home early this afternoon.