First off, thank you from the NUJ York chapel for all the messages of support from our journalist colleagues around the UK and for the donation pledges which have streamed in since our industrial action on Wednesday, when we were docked a full day's pay for taking a ten-minute mandatory chapel meeting.
Your backing and solidarity is massively appreciated and has heartened and inspired our members even more during a week which, while draining, has strengthened our commitment to fight for fair pay, together with our colleagues in Bradford and Essex who are also taking industrial action over Newsquest's refusal to reward us with the pay we deserve for the talent, imagination and commitment we show every day of our working lives.
But if we are to break Newsquest down over pay, it needs concerted action from chapels at all the company's centres. Taking industrial action can be a daunting step. But it is completely justified when your efforts and your ability are being ignored in terms of the amount which stares back at your from your monthly wage slip and the brick wall, plastered with excuses, this profitable company puts up whenever it comes to money (at least for its journalists, that is).
We can win this battle if all Newsquest chapels stand together knowing they have colleagues across the country in the corner. You don't have to suffer in silence - you can use the power of the union to force your bosses to the table and get the pay you deserve.
Remember, Newsquest's chief executive Paul Davidson was paid £598,441 in 2011, the last year for which figures are available. He and his fellow directors shared performance cash payments of £268,000. Directors were awarded a further £881,000 in the form of these mysterious and opaque "share-based payments". As for staff, the amount they received fell 7.5 per cent in 2011, with editorial staffing levels dropping by 108 jobs, or 6.8 per cent. And this is while Newsquest's parent company, Gannett, was making a £56.8 million operating profit.
The treatment we are forced to endure is unfair, insulting, dismissive and just plain wrong. We are the people who matter in this company. So stand up for your rights and join us and other chapels in fighting for those rights. There has never been a better time to show Newsquest just how much of a force to be reckoned with the NUJ really is.
* Follow the York chapel on Twitter at @NUJYork and stay tuned to this blogspot for our latest news. If you want to send messages of support or just want to know more about our fight for fair pay, e-mail Joint FoCs Mark Stead amd Tony Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
* See http://www.nuj.org.uk/innerPagenuj.html?docid=2698 for more info on the York and Bradford chapels' call for Newsquest-wide action on pay.