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MPs sign up to support striking journalists

Editorial staff involved in a dispute over pay are receiving support from MPs who have signed an Early Day Motion in parliament.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest’s Bolton and Bury titles have already held two days of strike action and are planning to walk out again on April 16 and 17.

Bury North MP David Chaytor is trying to rally support for their cause by urging his parliamentary colleagues to sign the motion, which is a parliamentary petition. Twelve have already done so.

The Early Day Motion reads: “This House notes that Gannett, the US parent company of Newsquest Lancashire, recently announced global profits for 2002 of $1.1bn; further notes that Newsquest Lancashire has announced pre-tax profits for 2001 of £5.3m, including a reduction in staffing costs of £507,000; regrets that starting salaries for graduate trainee journalists at the Bury Times and Bolton Evening News range from only £10,800 to £12,000 and for senior journalists from £14,000 to £15,390; believes that these are among the lowest in the United Kingdom; and calls on the management of Newsquest Lancashire to engage in constructive dialogue and further negotiations with the National Union of Journalists to achieve an improvement on the current two per cent pay offer.”

Union members from the Bolton Evening News, Bolton Journal, Bury Times, Bury Journal, Leigh Journal, Prestwich & Whitefield Guide and Radcliffe Times are looking for a seven per cent pay rise.

  • David Chaytor is no stranger to starting Early Day Motions in support of local journalists.

    He set one up to lobby the authorities over Manchester Evening News writer Steve Panter, who faced jail for refusing to reveal his sources when called as a witness to a crown court case.

    Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
    e-mail pastill@nep.co.uk