Friday, December 14, 2012

NUJ York pay battle: pre-Christmas update

Sorry it's been a bit quiet on the blog for a while, but just to bring you up to speed with the state of things regarding the NUJ Newsquest York chapel's ongoing pay dispute with Newsquest Yorkshire & North East.

Since our walk-out at the start of November, it has continued to be made abundantly clear that journalists in York will receive no pay rise for 2012. Our mandate for industrial action continues until the end of this month, and we have this week given notification to management of a pre-Christmas mandatory chapel meeting which will start at 10am on Thursday, December 20.

2012 represents the third year in the last four that a pay freeze has been imposed on York journalists. This makes for an unhappy Christmas for our members and we did not want the festive season to pass without our continuing anger and frustration being highlighted to Newsquest Yorkshire & North East as well as discussing our plans and our options for the New Year.

This dispute is not going away. We have fought for fair play and fair play in 2012 and we will do so again in 2013. Together with our NUJ colleagues at Newsquest Yorkshire & North East's other centres in Bradford - whose chapel also have a mandate for industrial action - and Darlington, we have submitted a joint pay claim for 2013 to regional management. The aim of this is to avoid the sort of divisive pay-bargaining which has been Newsquest's standard practice in the past, and we are now awaiting the company's response and the commencement art of proper negotiations.

Our pay review date is January 1 and we will keep you posted on developments, but the York chapel is prepared to keep fighting for the pay we deserve as a profitable company pleads poverty and those considerable profits go into the pockets of American shareholders at the expense of proud local newspapers and quality journalism.

We hope this dispute can be resolved quickly and amicably. But we are not prepared to endure the sort of delaying tactics and prevarication which have been the hallmark of pay talks during 2012, with no financial reward at the end of it for the talent, dedication, graft journalists in York and elsewhere display on a daily basis and the extra duties they have to take on amid shrinking staff levels and cutbacks.

More information about our industrial action on Thursday can be found at,

If you want to send good-luck messages to the York chapel ahead of Thursday, you can do so by e-mailing joint FoCs Mark Stead and Tony Kelly at and, or at our Twitter page at @NUJYork.

Once again, we want to thank everybody, both within the NUJ and outside the union, who has sent us messages of support and goodwill in recent weeks, and also for all the financial donations we have received following Newsquest's decision to dock our members who took part in industrial action on November 7 a full day's pay for a ten-minute meeting. We are extremely grateful and it has shown yet again the solidarity which exists within the NUJ and across the union movement.

And finally: we urge all Newsquest chapels who, like us, are not getting a fair deal on pay to make 2013 the year in which we ALL show our paymasters that we are not prepared to stand for this any more, through concerted pressure and, if necessary, co-ordinated industrial action. We are strong in isolation, but much stronger in unison.