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‘More than 700 journalists to benefit’ as publisher and union agree fresh pay deal

A deal benefitting more than 700 journalists has been struck between a regional publisher and union bosses following strike action.

The National Union of Journalists has announced it has accepted a revised pay offer from Reach plc, which it says will lead to salary increases of between 14 and 44pc for “many” editorial staff at the group.

Union members at Reach completed the first 24 hours of what was set to be four days of strike action last month, following the decision to reject a salary increase of 3pc or £750, whichever is more, on the grounds that such a raise would not be enough to help journalists to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

The subsequent three days of strike action were called off in the wake of the death of the Queen, with a revised pay proposal being put to members instead.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, with striking Reach journalists on the picket line at the company's London headquarters in Canary Wharf

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, with striking Reach journalists on the picket line at the company’s London headquarters in Canary Wharf

The proposal, the exact details of which have not been made public by either side, has now been ratified following a ballot in which over 76 per cent of members cast their vote.

In a statement, the NUJ said: “The [NUJ’s Reach] group chapel paid tribute to the collective work and solidarity of members across the group to secure a settlement that delivers significant pay rises to over 700 journalists, many of whom are the lowest paid staff, and improved redundancy terms and conditions for many members in currently in receipt of statutory minimums.

“Including increases secured in July, it will see pay rise for these workers in deals ranging from 14 to 44pc across the specified roles and minimum rates.

“Ahead of the negotiations for pay in 2023, which commence this autumn, NUJ reps pledged their determination to build on the achievements to date to deliver further improvements in pay transparency, higher rates of editorial pay, and meaingful career progression over the coming months.”

The union said the chapel, which has around 1,150 members, had “made it clear that this new deal, which delivers significant improvements for many journalists across the group, is just the beginning”.

In its statement, it added: “The NUJ will now enter into an agreed process with the company to identify outstanding pay anomalies and agree uplifts across other parts of the editorial bargaining unit, including across the group’s national titles, a process due to conclude by the end of this year.

“The company has also agreed to work with the union to develop collective bargaining processes in Ireland.

“This will be a vital start to the process of working together with the company to building a meaningful career progression structure and achieving better pay transparency.”

A Reach spokesperson told HTFP: “After much hard work and open communication on all sides, the NUJ have accepted Reach’s latest proposal which, in addition to a proposed annual increase and a host of other important commitments, will increase pay for over 700 journalists.

“We are pleased that we have been able to work together to find a way forward and will continue to keep an open dialogue on these crucial issues in the months to come.”