16 September 2014

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Union calls for group-wide action on Newsquest pay freeze

National Union of Journalists’ chapels at Newsquest titles across the country are being urged to join colleagues in York and Bradford in taking action against a pay freeze.

Journalists in York have just ended a week of industrial action with a series of mandatory meetings held in objection to a pay freeze by the company for this year.

Members of the York chapel, which includes journalists at The Press and sister weekly the Gazette and Herald, walked out on Wednesday amid claims they had been told they would lose a day’s pay for attending a 10-minute meeting.

Their colleagues in Bradford, which includes the Telegraph and Argus and Keighley News, have also held two mandatory meetings in the last few weeks.

The two chapels are now calling on Newquest journalists across the country to take a stand against the pay freeze.

Mark Stead, joint father of chapel in York, said: “We can break the Newsquest pay freeze if all Newsquest chapels stand together in the knowledge that they are being supported by colleagues across the country.

“You do not have to suffer in silence, you can use the power of the union behind you to force the management to the table and get the pay that you deserve for the talent you possess and the dedication you bring to your work as journalists.”

Bob Smith, father of chapel in Bradford, said: “It is very difficult for our members if they lose pay. A trainee on the Keighley News is on seven pence more than the Living Wage and they have to feed their families and heat their homes.”

Many journalists working for Newsquest titles have received just one pay increase of 2pc in the last four years, while inflation has risen by an average of 3pc since 2009.

The NUJ has also claimed that a survey of members in the Newsquest Essex chapel found that staff are working on average an extra day each fortnight to get their work done.

A letter to management said: “Editorial staff has been cut by a third in the past three years and the remaining staff have undertaken more work than ever.

“In addition to writing or subbing copy and taking photographs, we now upload articles and pictures continually to the website and keep our information feed current through Twitter.”

The York chapel is also urging people to sign a petition which calls for them to be paid a fair wage, which can be viewed here.

Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.

5 Comments

  1. Justin Dunn, UK

    Newsquest are an appalling company.

    I have genuine sympathy for the poor galley slaves working there.

    Their editorial teams are treated with utter contempt.

    It is not a “news” organisation in the slightest.

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  2. Out-of-work Hack

    Justin – at least Newsquest are honest about stuff like redundancies (which I don’t approve of) unlike Tindle, who like to put people out of work on grounds of ‘capability’ to avoid having said they’ve made redundancies.

    Just so you know.

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  3. unionman

    Out-of-work Hack – As a Newsquest employee I actually agree with you.
    But there comes a time when we can no longer put up with saying “at least we are not Tindle/JP/Trinity Mirror”. It is not a race to the bottom and we need to pull up standards by fighting for pay even when others may be facing job cuts.

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  4. Journo

    Way to go unions. A series of one hour meetings every day will really bring Newsquest to its knees.
    Do they reduce pagination to make up for these daily breaks?
    Of course not, so the staff have to work harder to actually fill them or quality suffers which is again counter-productive.
    Way to go NUJ.
    Have the union’s paid employees had pay rises over the last few years. I think we should be told!

    Report this comment

  5. Steve

    Retired Newsquest Journalist

    Paul Davidson never has or I doubt never will, comment on staff pay.
    He is quite happy with his lot while the staff who produce the newspapers continue to suffer not only pay freezes but editorial cutbacks.
    In the long term that makes their newspapers not worth buying, circulation drops and more cuts announced.

    Report this comment



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