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.