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Newsquest agrees to talk in Darlington pay dispute

8 January 2009

Newsquest North East has backtracked on its threat to dock pay at its Darlington centre, following action by NUJ members on Monday.

The company has now agreed to enter pay talks at Darlington. It has also said it will pay all NUJ members who took part in industrial action earlier this week, despite warning people they risked having their pay docked.

Following an all-day mandatory NUJ chapel meeting on Monday, the company has now agreed to open negotiations on 2009 pay next month. The imposition of a pay freeze was one of the factors behind the dispute.

Despite a strongly worded memo from managing director David Coates threatening union members with pay deductions for taking part in the NUJ action, the company has now agreed that all staff will be paid for Monday.

Union members have warned management that they are determined to stand up to protect the future of their paper and will continue to fight for the preservation of editorial jobs.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern Regional Organiser, said:

"Our members at Newsquest North East have made an important stand not only over the destructive tide of redundancies sweeping through newsrooms across the country, but to say that they will not stand by while colleagues are dumped on the dole and they are then expected to take up the work.
"The chapel feel they made their point over the sickening loss of three colleagues by compulsory redundancy and the company should take note that any future threat to jobs will be met by the same determination to preserve the integrity of their newspapers by fighting for the preservation of editorial jobs.
"The company's agreement to open official negotiations about pay in 2009 next month is welcome, but it is important for management to realise that the chapel will not be short-changed in those negotiations. I also hope that by agreeing to drop its threat to withhold the pay of NUJ members in this dispute that the company is therefore serious about meeting the chapel's outstanding concerns."

Tags: , newsquest, pay, newspapers, darlington, pay freeze, industrial action, chapels, mandatory meetings