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York journalists to take industrial action over pay

Journalists at a regional daily in Yorkshire are to take industrial action this Friday in a dispute over pay.

National Union of Journalists chapel members at Newsquest York, publishers of The Press, held a ballot last month which resulted in a yes vote for action up to and including a strike.

The union claims that editorial staff at the York centre have gone without a pay rise in three of the past four years, accusing Newsquest of taking a “divisive” approach to pay bargaining.

Following inconclusive talks with management, the chapel has now decided to activate the ballot result and will be holding a mandatory chapel meeting in work time at 4pm this Friday.

Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, joint fathers of chapel at Newsquest York, said in a statement “In three of the last four years, the hard work and dedication of Newsquest York editorial staff has not been given the recognition it deserves in the form of a pay rise.

“Our members have simply had enough of Newsquest’s pleas of poverty while its directors pocket huge bonuses and profits are siphoned off to American shareholders at the expense of quality journalism.

“They are also furious that Newsquest Yorkshire and North East Ltd sees fit to adopt a divisive approach to pay bargaining by giving editorial staff at one of its titles a pay rise for 2012 – entirely merited – while refusing to reward those at the company’s two other titles.

“Our members have seen their pay stand still amid soaring inflation and living costs while they take on extra duties and strive to maintain and enhance The Press’ award-winning reputation, and we believe the lack of a pay offer for 2012 is utterly unacceptable.

“While making its stance clear to local management, the chapel has also shown its willingness to work towards a resolution by making suggestions about possible alternatives to a pay rise, such as a one-off lump sum payment, additional holidays and changes to working hours, all of which have been rebuffed.

“We remain entirely willing to work with Newsquest Yorkshire and North East Ltd to reach an agreement, but are committed to taking industrial action as and when necessary through a mandate which can remain in place for the rest of this year.”

Chris Morley, the union’s Northern & Midlands organiser, added: “The stand by our members in York is the tip of the iceberg of discontent within Newsquest as a whole over the appallingly callous attitude of senior managers to the plight of their staff.

“Our members at York are working for an operation which made nearly £2m operating profit last year and which scooped a £600,000 a year saving on taking away the final salary pension scheme from its employees. It is about time Newsquest starting paying its staff properly, instead of lining the pockets of its American shareholders.”

According to the union, Newsquest’s Yorkshire & North East division made a  pre-tax profit of £1.87m in 2011, with staff costs falling 8.5pc.

Managers at Newsquest York have yet to respond to requests for a comment.


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  • October 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Think I have had a 0.5% pay rise and a one of payment “bonus” of £80 (before tax) in the last three years.

    Good luck to them

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  • October 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I’d be interested to see the % of staff who are union members and the % of union members who voted to strike. I bet it’s less than 25% of the editorial department.

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  • October 2, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Good luck to everyone for Friday.
    Hope the weather is as sunny as it was last time.

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