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Regional daily in strike ballot over Newsquest pay freeze

Journalists working for a regional daily owned by Newsquest are set to be balloted for strike action amid claims they will have no pay rise this year.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at York’s The Press, along with sister title the Gazette and Herald, which is based in Malton, will be balloted for industrial action, after being told by the company about the pay freeze.

The union says it comes despite their Newsquest colleagues in Darlington, where The Northern Echo is based, being offered a 2pc pay increase, although it was delayed by three months from their usual pay anniversary.

Other titles in the group, including at Bradford, have yet to find out if they will be offered a pay rise this year, with the union fearing this could be the third year out of four that journalists there have been hit with a pay freeze.

Mark Stead, NUJ father of chapel in York, said: “The pay increase for staff at The Northern Echo in Darlington is richly-deserved, but the same goes for editorial staff in York who do not work any less hard or give any less commitment, time and professionalism to their roles, including taking on extra duties such as social media.

“This ballot is not a course of action we want to take, but the sheer intransigence of Newsquest Yorkshire & North East and its stance of treating employees separated by only 57 miles differently, leaves our members with no option.

“This is the third time in four years staff at an award-winning newspaper, one of the finest in the north of England, have had to put up with unacceptable pay and a lack of willingness by Newsquest to appreciate and value the work they do. The result of this has been plummeting morale and rising anger.”

In a letter to staff, managing editor at Newsquest York Steve Hughes said: “As you know, trading conditions for Newsquest York were very difficult in the first quarter and the company said it would review the position again at the end of June in the hope that a pay review might be possible.

“Against this backdrop of continuing uncertainty within the economy, the company has decided that there will be no pay review this year.

“I know this will be a disappointment to all staff but any addition to our costs at a time when there are no signs of growth in our business cannot be justified.”

The ballot will take place from 28 August to 11 September.

Newquest chief executive Paul Davidson was not available for comment about the ballot.


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  • August 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Holy smoke but those ad revenues are an unmitigated disaster.

    Let’s hope this poor advertising performance is remembered when the Newsquest redundancy axe is once again brought at (usually a week before Christmas) and aimed at the heads of editorial staff, while the sales “force” blithely gets away with driving the business off a cliff.

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  • September 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    yes Cherrywonder, because everyone buys the paper to read the adverts don’t they!

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