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Wakefield pay dispute is resolved

Planned industrial action over pay at the Wakefield Express and its sister papers has been called off after the dispute was resolved.

National Union of Journalists members at the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group had voted to strike today and tomorrow, and on Tuesday April 2.

Members were due to picket the company’s offices in Wakefield, Morley, South Elmsall, Selby and Castleford.

But further talks between the NUJ and the management of the Express and its associated newspapers reached an agreement.

Peter Keller, managing director of Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group, said: “We are pleased to have come to an agreement with the journalists working at YWNG, avoiding industrial action which had been planned.”

Before the meeting a £1,200 rise for trainees was agreed but the NUJ was hoping to improve on the offered 2.5 per cent increase for senior journalists.

It has now been agreed that trainees will get £1,200 rise this year and seniors will get 2.5 per cent basic – amounting to £363 for the lowest-paid seniors.

The longer serving staff members will get a better rise – the NUJ estimates that for those with more than seven years service it will be up to 3.4 per cent.

After taking into account local conditions, photographers at Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group without a company car have been given a one-off payment of £200, for wear and tear on their own cars.

Meal allowances have also gone up by 50p this year with the promise of 50p next year, and the company has agreed to pass on the request for an increased mileage rate throughout Johnston.

Meanwhile, at the RIM-owned Yorkshire Post Newspapers, where NUJ members have been calling for a new pay grading structure, the NUJ chapel has agreed to put off any action after Johnston Press gave an undertaking to negotiate after it takes over.

There is a similar story at the RIM-owned Lancashire Evening Post where a one-day stoppage has been called for April 12, the day Johnston takes over. The NUJ says no action is expected if the new owners agree to talk.

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