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'Fantastic support' for striking editorial staff

Striking staff from two Newsquest York newspapers have received “fantastic support”, according to those on the picket line.

Around 25 reporters, photographers and sub-editors from daily title The Press and the weekly Gazette and Herald started five days of industrial action yesterday.

It is the latest stage in a pay dispute between the National Union of Journalists and Newsquest York which spans eight months.

The union says the company’s three per cent pay offer is not enough and members are angry that management will not match pay-offers given to journalists at other Newsquest centres.

Speaking from the picket line, joint father of the NUJ chapel Sam Southgate said: “It has been fantastic. We’re getting a lot of support from members of the public.

“BBC Radio York, Minster FM and Look North have all been down.

“We have had good coverage which is encouraging. We want to make our point to as many people as possible so it’s great that the media has come down.

“We’re getting tons of messages of support, from texts and phone calls to around £500 in donations towards cost of running the strike.”

The first-ever strike action by the NUJ took place in 1911 by staff from the York Herald, now amalgamated into the Gazette and Herald.

Staff were protesting over working conditions and lengthy shifts – a dispute which took 11 years to resolve.

Chapel members in York are dressing up in Dickensian costumes as part of the strike to illustrate what they call the ‘Dickensian conditions’ they are working in today.

During the strike, the two titles are being put together by managers from other Newsquest centres and freelancers.

Sam added: “They are going to be stretched. Nearly all the sports team and virtually every sub is out.

“Management have not been out to speak to us and we’re not expecting them to.

“We want management to come back to the table with a better offer. We’ve said all along that we deserve an above rate-of-inflation pay rise.”

Newsquest York management said last week they were ‘astonished’ after the NUJ announced the strike action.

No-one from Newsquest was available for comment on the strike.


Anon (23/05/2008 11:41:23)
Good luck to them. Sadly, strikes are the only way big publishers will listen to the staff these days. The little people don’t matter when it comes to cash.

Peter Lazenby (23/05/2008 11:55:26)
Best of luck to the York strikers. Their company Newsquest is owned by a United States conglomerate called Gannet. Very appropriate.
Best wishes from 400 members of Leeds branch National Union of Journalists.
Peter Lazenby
Leeds branch NUJ.

chris webber (23/05/2008 13:41:43)
good luck to all the team at the press – a great bunch.

another newsquest employee (23/05/2008 14:17:36)
Best of luck guys. We took the three per cent and now i worry about money every time i go to the supermarket. i’ve given up meat during the week too to try and save cash. it’s crap because after passing my nce i had a brief and lovely period of being most ok but now with inflation it’s a struggle again.

Newsquest hack (23/05/2008 20:33:23)
I work for a Newsquest title in the north and live off my credit card in the hope that I’ll get another job or I’ll come into some money before I hit my credit limit. The regional newspaper business – Newsquest in particular – need to think if they want hard-working dedicated staff from all works of life who are in for the long haul, or just young poseurs with rich parents who want to play at journalism for a few years before moving to PR.

Supporter (25/05/2008 22:51:52)
Wishing the York strikers all the best. They are a fantastic group, of hardworking, dedicated journalists.
I don’t know how the management can sleep at night.
And if I was a journalist crossing the picket line, I couldn’t live with the guilt and shame.

Dave Barry (26/05/2008 09:22:30)
best wishes and sympathy for the working conditions, from the Scarborough Evening News chapel of the NUJ

Roger Jones (26/05/2008 16:15:11)
Best wishes everyone. Sadly, sometimes striking is the only way to show management that you really do mean business. Newspaper managements make millions on the backs of underpaid, overworked, journalists and others. Things are getting better for many of us, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of NUJ activists and officials, but we have to face the fact that our industry is nowhere near as strong as it once was. Keep smilin’.
-Roger Jones, Deputy FoC, Midland Weekly Media (Solihull).

mike beevers (11/06/2008 12:24:47)
I’ve been a journo for 30 years and it’s about bloody time we stood up for ourselves.We used to be valued.