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Trainees at JP titles to get 4pc pay rise says NUJ

Trainee journalists at a group of Johnston Press titles in Northern Ireland are to get an enhanced pay increase of 4pc, the National Union of Journalists has claimed.

The union, which says the pay of JP journalists in the region has been frozen since 2011, has announced a pay deal covering its members at the Derry Journal, the Belfast Newsletter and Morton Newspapers.

It says that entry-level journalists will see their pay increase by 4pc in a deal that delivers a flat rate of £625 for grades up to senior journalist with special responsibilities, while higher grades will receive £500.

The deal follows almost a year of negotiations and, says the union, comes on the back of a similar agreement which saw journalists at the Yorkshire Post receive a flat rate £800 rise.

Nicola Coleman, NUJ Irish organiser, said: “The NUJ chapels in Northern Ireland are the only ones in the JP group, apart from the Yorkshire Post who achieved anything in excess of management’s original offer.

“While we accepted a compromise on our demands this is an achievement to be immensely proud of. It proves that together we really are stronger.”

Paul Wilkinson, Mortons FoC, added: “That we have secured an enhanced pay offer, a notably significant achievement, is thanks to the collective resolve, active participation and demonstrable unity of members, who must now remain resolute, active and united going forward.

“We did not achieve all we sought to achieve and while compromise is an inevitable part of any protracted negotiation worthy of the name, much is still to be addressed, in which respect we must remain committed to the best interests of all our colleagues and of our profession itself.”

Michael Wilson, Derry Journal FOC, said “This pay deal may not have been ideal but it does, nonetheless, highlight the collective strength that still exits within the Derry Journal Chapel for whom the protracted negotiations lasted more than 12 months.

“That same unity will be crucial as we move forward to this year’s pay negotiations which are due to begin shortly.

“I also feel it is important to acknowledge the contribution of a number of long serving and highly valued members of the Derry Journal Chapel who, despite not benefiting personally from the compromised deal, worked hard to help secure the agreement which would benefit the majority of our Chapel members.

“These are demanding times for Journalism as a whole. New challenges have brought with them increased workloads and heightened pressures for NUJ members but they are challenges that local journalists are meeting head on. In such an environment, the role of the NUJ remains key.”

Johnston Press has so far not responded to requests for a comment.


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  • August 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

    A rise JP Trainees in Northern Ireland? Something ought to be done about the outrageously low salaries of JP Trainees in the rest of the UK.
    In Scotland, the trainee salary remains at £15k. This is at least £3k less per year than a trainee would earn at one of JP’s Scottish competitors.
    Trainees in JP are required to serve at least 24 months at this basic salary before they are allowed to sit their NQJ qualifications, at which point, they would only progress to earning £18k (less than a trainee elsewhere). All other companies put their trainees through the NQJ after 18 months, allowing for faster career progression and a more reasonable salary.
    It is time JP thought about its employees outwith Northern Ireland, else they risk losing good trainees with potential to become great journalists.

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