National Union of Journalists members at South Yorkshire Newspapers are to step up their protest over pay, with a further ten days of strike action.
Editorial staff from the Doncaster Free Press, Doncaster Advertiser, South Yorkshire Times, Epworth Bells, Goole Courier, Gainsborough Standard and the Community Newsletter returned to work today following a two-day strike, but have said they will walk out again on Monday unless management offers “constructive talks”.
If an agreement is not reached the walkout could last until August 2.
NUJ members are unhappy with a pay rise offer of 2.75 per cent and are instead asking for a five per cent increase.
They have so far held three days of action, on July 12, 18 and 19, combined with a fortnight’s work to rule which took effect from July 10.
picketing in Epworth
South Yorkshire Newspapers has said that the company’s pay offer is “competitive” and that in the current economic climate it is its “best and final offer”.
Earlier this week, managing director Terry Johnson said: “The vote to take strike action is disappointing. Whilst we accept employees’ right to express their opinions in this way we have made it clear that, provided the threat of industrial action is removed, we are willing to continue constructive dialogue to resolve the pay dispute and avoid any potential financial hardship to those taking part in the strike action.
“Plans are in place to ensure our publications do not suffer.”
NUJ mother of chapel Emma Roots said: “The decision to strike was not taken lightly, but chapel members have been united in their anger at poverty pay levels and ever increasing workloads.
“Our membership ranges from the youngest trainees to a deputy editor in his sixties. All we want to do is to be able to produce high quality newspapers and earn a decent living wage.
“Because our salaries are already so low the offer of 2.75 per cent works out at a rise of just 71p per day for those at the bottom of the payscale.”
The NUJ claims editorial staff there are paid significantly less than in other Johnston Press centres throughout Yorkshire.