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Final agreement reached in pay and pensions dispute

National Union of Journalists members at the Whitehaven News have voted to accept a pay deal from parent company CN Group – the last of three union chapels there to do so.

Journalists from the Whitehaven News, Carlisle News & Star and North West Evening Mail had all been involved in a long-running dispute over pay and pensions, after the company closed its final-salary pension scheme and replaced it with a defined contribution scheme.

Union members at Carlisle and Barrow accepted a two-year deal last month, but deliberations took longer at Whitehaven, with members there saying they objected to proposed changes to pay bands for new starters.

The NUJ says journalists will now get the same minimums as their colleagues in Carlisle, although this will be frozen for the next two years.

Whitehaven NUJ father of chapel Dave Siddall said: “We were united as journalists with our colleagues at Carlisle and Barrow.

“Any further action would have been counterproductive for everyone in the company, where we all now face an uphill task rebuilding the damage to morale caused by the CN closure of the final salary pensions and the attempt to categorise West Cumbrian journalists as somehow ‘second class’ in the pay structure.”