30 October 2014

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Journalists walk out again after bosses confirm pay dock

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.

7 Comments

  1. Half pint

    Great effort from journalists in York. Their determination and solidarity should be a beacon to all.

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  2. Monkey

    yes, well done, just remember to thank all your colleagues for the support…..oh that’s right, they all got made redundant.

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  3. Runaway Ed

    So unionised low paid staff (many of whom I have no doubt regularly work over their normal hours, plus unsocial hours to boot) hold a 10 minutes protest meeting.
    They are thus taking part in “industrial action” and must be punished by the docking of a whole day’s pay.
    Is there no one in the management team who can see that this makes them look like out of touch 1970s dinosaurs? Do they not have the communication skills to recognise how to start dealing with the problem?
    A clue: As the meeting came to an end a senior manager with the ability to LISTEN should have arrived and said: “Right, if this is serious, how about we have another 10 minutes. Tell me what the main issues are. I can promise nothing, but I’ll hear you out.”

    No wonder these companies can’t get their online approach right, they are still in the dark ages and often seem to dislike both their products and their employees.

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  4. Tsk

    Have there been any successful strikes in recent years?

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  5. York journalist, York

    As I understand it, the journalists returned to work after their 10-minute meeting and were told by management that they would not be docked pay, so they continued to work diligently.
    A few hours later (after much of the next day’s paper was produced and several festive articles written, and websites all up to date) management then turned round and said the journalists wouldn’t be paid for that day’s work after all.
    I really hope the NUJ legal team look into this properly.

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  6. Tog

    A long work-to-rule would be an effective way of drawing management attention to the hours that the journalists actually work.

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  7. beencounting, yorks

    the huge fault of newspaper management now is the top socialising free-lunching managers dont listen to the real grafters . if they had companies would not have thrown away thousands of sales. Crazy management syle.

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