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Pay freeze at newspaper extended, union claims

A newspaper publisher has extended a pay freeze for journalists until March next year, according to a union.

The Bristol branch of the National Union of Journalists reports Northcliffe Media staff at titles in the South West have been told this week their pay will not be reviewed for another seven months.

A statement on its website said the news was given to staff at parts of Bristol News and Media, which publishes the Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press, along with other titles.

It is not known whether Northcliffe staff in other regions are also affected.

The union says a letter to staff from Dawna Stickler, managing director of BNM, states: “It has been decided that with current trading trends looking ominous, the salary freeze will remain in place until March 2011, at which time the plan is to remove it, dependent on economic conditions.

“Recent government announcements to introduce UK wide austerity measures are having an impact on our ability to drive revenues.

“These deep cuts are likely to affect a number of advertising categories in both the public and private sector.”

She said the company was concentrating on creating new revenues a number of commercial initiatives were taking shape to strengthen its position.

The letter by Ms Stickler added: “In regard to the salary freeze, I’m afraid that it will be a little while yet before the thaw, and at this stage our plan is to remove this from March 2011.

“This means it will have been in place for 2 years, identical to the length of period that the public sector have been told their salary freeze will run for and very similar to many other organisations.”

Northcliffe Media had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.