Journalists in Swindon vote for industrial action over pay
15 December 2017
Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over poor pay and the failure of Newsquest to meet the NUJ's 2017 pay claim, saying they are among the lowest paid on a daily title.
In a statement the Swindon NUJ chapel said:
"By voting overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action, journalists on the Swindon Advertiser have shown their frustration at the low pay which reporters have to put up with and the refusal of management at the Newsquest title to take part in meaningful negotiations.
"Other Newsquest centres, such at Newport and Bolton, have gone some way to address the poor pay of their journalists by giving above-inflation rate pay rises this year. A negotiated settlement between Newsquest and the NUJ in Swindon had not been reached.
"A senior reporter in Swindon gets £19-20,000 and the chapel believes Swindon Advertiser reporters are now among the lowest paid on a daily title in the UK. The Advertiser has already lost one junior reporter from journalism because of the dreadful rate of pay here - about £17,500 for a trainee - showing that these rates of pay are a false economy by the company.
"In August a pay increase of 1.7 per cent was imposed for those earning up to £20,000 and 1.5 per cent for those above. There was no increase at all in 2016, living costs continue to rise steeply in Swindon as inflation continues to cut into journalists’ living standards.
"Difficult trading conditions are repeatedly given by management as the reason for failing to address the issue of poor pay, but members have no reason to believe that trading conditions are any better in Bolton and Newport than they are in Swindon - indeed Newsquest’s own tables for print and digital figures consistently feature Swindon near the top.
"If the current redundancy proposals for roles in Swindon of content managers, news editor and social media and web editor go ahead, the workload of reporters will increase significantly, an issue which management is refusing to discuss with union members.
"The proposal sadly shows that no matter how much experience you have, or how successful you are, Newsquest doesn’t value its staff and puts making savings above the reputation of its titles."
Of the 16 eligible for the ballot, 12 voted yes for industrial action, the number of individuals voting no was zero and there were no spoiled papers.