Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Making the headlines

Used to writing the news, chapel members have enjoyed making the news today. Our strike plans have received wide coverage including on the Media Guardian, Press Gazette and Hold The Front Page websites. We're looking forward to making more headlines next week.

Strike fund tops £1,000

The support we've had from fellow journalists and trade unionists since announcing our strike has been overwhelming. In the last half-hour £350 has been donated to our strike fund by the Birmingham and Coventry NUJ Branch, and and another £500 has been pledged from the Yorkshire Evening Post/Yorkshire Post joint NUJ chapel. Our strike fund has now hit the £1,000 mark. An enormous thank you to everyone who has so far pledged their support.

Strke fund already growing

Management were only notified of our planned strike action an hour ago and we're already getting messages of support. The NUJ's Manchester Branch has sent their best wishes and pledged a donation of £100 towards our strike fund. Meanwhile, one of our members who is on holiday for the duration of the strike, business editor Ron Godfrey, has donated £50 to the fund. Sincere thanks to everyone.

Five-day strike set for The Press

NUJ members at Newsquest York are set to take five days of strike action next week after a failure by management to make an acceptable pay-offer.

The action will affect The Press, the company’s main paper in the city, as well as other Newsquest titles including the Gazette & Herald. The strike will run from Thursday 22 May until Monday 26 May.

The decision for to stage a five-day walkout was taken at a meeting of NUJ members on May 8, following eight months of negotiations that have failed to result in a deal on pay. The company has made a below-inflation offer of three per cent, which has been rejected by the union’s members at the York titles.

There is particular anger that management will not match pay-offers given to journalists at other Newsquest centres. Chapel reps say the below-inflation pay-offer comes against a background of increased workloads, understaffing, and attacks on members’ pensions.

Joint Father of Chapel Sam Southgate said: “NUJ members at Newsquest York are frustrated and infuriated in equal measure. This dispute is a result of management intransigence getting in the way of securing a reasonable deal.

“We’ve been patient throughout eight months of negotiations and have put forward a number of proposals to solve the dispute. We offered to bring in NUJ national officials and suggested going to ACAS for arbitration. At every turn we have been rebuffed and management is refusing to budge.

“Newsquest still has time to avoid this dispute by returning to the table for genuine and meaningful negotiations.

“Journalists at The Press and the Gazette & Herald want to get on with reporting news to the local community. It’s a real shame that management’s failure to move on pay has forced them into taking this action.”