York journalists act over another pay freeze as Newsquest announces £2m profit
1 October 2012
NUJ members working for Newsquest in York will be taking action on Friday, 5 October, as management refused them a pay increase this year – it means that they have not had one in three of the past four years.
Latest figures for 2011 for Newsquest (Yorkshire & North East) Ltd show a pre-tax profit of £1.87 million. Total staff costs fell 8.5 per cent to £8.02m, while the company made a massive saving following the scrapping of the final salary scheme.
The action will be in the form of a mandatory chapel meeting at 4pm. The chapel has not ruled out further action.
Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, joint Fathers of Chapel at Newsquest York, said:
"In three of the past four years, the hard work and dedication of Newsquest York editorial staff has not been given the recognition it deserves in the form of a pay rise. Our members have had enough of Newsquest's pleas of poverty while its directors pocket huge bonuses and profits are siphoned off to American shareholders at the expense of quality journalism.
"They are furious that Newsquest Yorkshire and North East Ltd sees fit to adopt a divisive approach to pay bargaining by giving editorial staff at one of its titles a pay rise for 2012 - entirely merited - while refusing to reward those at the company's two other titles, , including those at Newsquest York. Our members have seen their pay stand still amid soaring inflation and living costs while they take on extra duties and strive to maintain and enhance The Press's award-winning reputation, and we believe the lack of a pay offer for 2012 is utterly unacceptable.
"While making its stance clear to local management, the chapel has also shown its willingness to work towards a resolution by making suggestions about possible alternatives to a pay rise, such as a one-off lump sum payment, additional holidays and changes to working hours, all of which have been rebuffed. We remain entirely willing to work with Newsquest Yorkshire and North East Ltd to reach an agreement, but are committed to taking industrial action as and when necessary through a mandate which can remain in place for the rest of this year."
Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands Organiser, said:
"The stand by our members in York is the tip of the iceberg of discontent within Newsquest as a whole over the appallingly callous attitude of senior managers to the plight of their staff. Our members at York are working for an operation which made nearly £2m operating profit last year and which scooped a £600,000 a year saving on taking away the final salary pension scheme from its employees. It is about time Newsquest starting paying its staff properly, instead of lining the pockets of its American shareholders."
The staff working for Newsquest (Yorkshire & North East) Ltd in York decided to ballot for industrial action following notification by the company that they will not get a pay rise in 2012. The company publishes The Press, the weekly paid-for Ryedale paper, the Gazette & Herald, a free weekly paper, the websites thepress.co.uk and gazetteherald.co.uk and Yorkshire Living.