Journalists who went on strike last week over their company’s ongoing pay freeze have been offered a 2pc pay rise effective from 1 July.
As reported before Christmas, regional publisher Newsquest had made the 2pc offer to journalists at its Glasgow, Darlington, York and Bradford centres, helping to avert the threat of a company-wide stoppage last week.
Journalists at the Southern Daily Echo went ahead with three days of strike action as it was unclear whether the pay offer would be extended to other titles in the group.
However the National Union of Journalists has now revealed that the offer was made to Echo journalists on Friday, the third day of last week’s three-day strike, while those from Brighton’s The Argus, who took part in a 48-hour walkout, are also understood to have received the pay offer.
In a statement issued last night, the NUJ chapel at the Echo claimed the move demonstrated the success of their strike action.
The paper’s editor, Ian Murray, had previously said in November that the pay freeze was not up for discussion.
The union said the priority now was the reinstatement of individual banding payments which it says have been suspended for more than two-and-a-half years.
Mr Murray said: “All staff at the Southern Daily Echo, including advertising, sales and administration, were informed of a 2pc pay rise to take effect from July 1, 2011 at a meeting on Friday, January 7.
“This was a staff council meeting to which representatives of editorial were invited with two weeks’ warning but declined, choosing instead to take strike action. A meeting offered to the NUJ chapel representatives alone for the same day was also declined.
“To claim that industrial action in any way prompted the pay increase is wrong. At no point was a pay rise in 2011 ever ruled out.
“Management were sorry that, even after being informed that the meetings would take place on January 7 and then in fact agreeing to attend a meeting diaried at their request on January 11, the NUJ decided to announce the strike action taken during last week.
“It was ironic indeed that while staff were being informed of the pay increase at the pre-publicised meeting, NUJ members were not present because of strike action being taken over the very issue that was being discussed.”