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Above-inflation pay deal for Yorkshire news staff

Journalists at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post have agreed a two-year pay deal – and signed an “Enabling Agreement” governing the introduction of new media at the company.

According to the National Union of Journalists, staff will receive pay increases ranging from 4.15 per cent to 4.44 per cent in the first year.

In the second year they will receive inflation plus 0.25 per cent. Inflation is currently running at 2.7 per cent.

Peter Lazenby, joint father of chapel for the YP/YEP NUJ Chapel, said: “We have agreed a formula on inflation based on the average RPI in the four months from August to November, 2007.

“If inflation rises above, or falls below, certain levels then the second year deal will be re-negotiated.”

An “Enabling Agreement”, concerning the introduction of video reporting and other new media at the paper has also been signed.

This covers issues such as working hours, shifts, health and safety and risk assessment, and follows a vote by NUJ members at the paper last year to “freeze” new media training.

Under the agreement there will also be monthly meetings to discuss how things are progressing and allow staff to raise any issues.

Peter said: “The freeze was imposed in support of the Joint Chapel’s request for negotiations for an agreement on how new media should be introduced, dealing particularly with health and safety.

“Issues included the safety of staff carrying expensive recording equipment into trouble spots, insurance, assessing the risks on certain jobs.”

He added: “One difficulty was that the company does not know what it wants, and does not know what will actually work, or what will make money. The introduction of new media will of necessity therefore be experimental.

“If the company tries a new system which does not achieve the company’s aims, it may be dropped and something else may be tried. The Enabling Agreement puts in place a framework for the introduction of new work. It protects our working hours.

“New media means additional work for journalists. We were determined it would not mean longer hours.”

No one was available for comment today at either newspaper.