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Newsquest journalists in further industrial action on pay

Journalists at a regional daily will hold their third day of industrial action today as part of a dispute over a pay freeze.

Members of the National Union of Journalists working for Newsquest York, which includes The Press, will hold a compulsory chapel meeting today at 1pm.

It is the third such action they have taken in recent weeks after claims that they will not receive a pay rise this year.

Their colleagues at Newsquest Bradford, which includes the Telegraph and Argus, will also hold their first mandatory meeting, which takes place at the same time as the one in York.

The journalists say they have had pay freezes in three out of the last four years, with a single pay rise of 2pc in 2011.

And the NUJ claims that a trainee on a Newsquest weekly starts on just £7.52 an hour, which does not take into account any unpaid extra hours put in.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “Our members are determined to win a better deal from a company that is prepared to lavish huge salaries, cash bonuses and share options to directors who have failed on every count to make a successful contribution to the company’s fortunes – unlike our members who produce the journalism that helps keep their newspapers in the eye of their communities.

“Newsquest can still, even at this late stage, recognise the anger being built up among staff and enter into genuine negotiations that can plot a realistic way out of this unsustainable situation.”

The chapels claim that fellow Newsquest journalists at The Northern Echo have been given a 2pc rise this year and say they are being treated unfairly.

Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, joint NUJ FoCs of the York Chapel, said in a statement: “Like ourselves, Bradford have been harshly and unfairly treated by the management at Newsquest.

“We have no qualms whatsoever with our colleagues at the Northern Echo being given a two per cent pay rise. They deserve that – and more. But so do we at York and Bradford.

“Our members have worked equally as hard in the most exacting of circumstances, where editorial staffing levels have been cut regularly over the past four years and with editorial departments vastly under-funded.”

Managers at the two centres have not yet responded to requests for a comment.