Thursday, May 22, 2008

Commons motion for strike

MPs from the NUJ Parliamentary Group sent messages of solidarity to the 34 NUJ members at Newsquest York who are embarking today on a five-day strike following on from management’s refusal to match pay offers given to journalists at other Newsquest centres. The below-inflation pay-offer comes as journalists are already struggling with increased workloads, understaffing and attacks on their pensions.

John McDonnell MP, Secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group, said: “Journalists have demanding and high-pressured jobs. Their hard work provides us with information about the world around us – this is vital to any democratic society. Poor conditions, increased workloads, understaffing and inadequate pay threatens the quality of journalism and therefore threatens the quality of public debate.

“I offer my solidarity with the NUJ members at Newsquest York striking over pay and conditions and urge the management to listen to these concerns by entering into meaningful negotiations with the NUJ and initiate fair pay immediately.”

The NUJ Parliamentary Group will be tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of the strike as soon as Parliament is next sitting and will use every parliamentary mechanism available to raise this issue with the government."

The full text of the EDM reads:

That this House notes with disappointment the below inflation pay rise offered to journalists at Newsquest York; further notes that Gannett, Newsquest's US parent company, made a profit last year of over $1 billion; is concerned that the journalists at Newsquest York work hard to deliver good quality local news to the community in difficult circumstances of increasing workloads and understaffing; believes that high quality journalism is essential to any democratic society and recognises that poor conditions and inadequate pay threatens this provision; supports the strike action taken by NUJ members at Newsquest York and urges the management to enter into meaningful dialogue with staff over pay and conditions.