Journalists involved in a pay freeze dispute with their management have walked out today after claiming they were being docked an entire day’s pay for a 10-minute meeting.
Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest York, which publishes The Press, have been holding mandatory chapel meetings at 10am every day this week after their pay was frozen for 2012.
But after returning from the meeting today, the chapel members claim they were told that they were being docked a full day’s pay for attending it, resulting in them walking out for the rest of the day.
The pay freeze dispute has gone on for many weeks after the chapel claimed they have had no pay rise for three out of the last four years and has seen a number of mandatory chapel meetings take place.
Joint fathers of chapel Tony Kelly and Mark Stead said in a statement: “The management response is intolerable and utterly unjustified. We are in the midst of legally-balloted industrial action, so to penalise our members for a ten-minute meeting is against all concepts of fairness.
“Our members attended today’s meeting in the full knowledge that they faced losing a day’s pay, once again demonstrating their commitment to our cause, but remain angry and disappointed at the continuing intransigence of Newsquest management.
“We are not asking for the moon. We are asking for a fair pay rise from a company that is making significant profits for its management and the company’s share-holders in the United States.”
The NUJ members say that they were told by York managing editor Steve Hughes that the meeting constituted “part performance” and a full day’s pay would be docked from each journalist who attended.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, added: “It is incredibly disappointing that the management has acted in this way by cutting the journalists’ pay.”
Staff working for Newsquest in Bradford are also involved in the pay freeze dispute and held a mandatory meeting today.
Management at Newsquest York has not responded to requests for a comment.