Newsquest journalists in Essex plan walk-out over pay
18 January 2012
NUJ members at Newsquest-owned Essex County Newspapers, based in Colchester, have voted in favour of strike action and action short of a strike.
The journalists will take action short of a strike on Wednesday 18 January by holding an hour-long mandatory chapel meeting. They will be protesting the company's failure to adequately negotiate over pay and plans to introduce a single pay anniversary that will leave some staff waiting until June 2013 before any wage increases are considered.
Will Lodge, father of the Colchester chapel, said the chapel was still committed to talks with management but believed a potential third year out of four with no pay rise was unsustainable for members.
"Members don't want to take action but feel they have been left with little choice as their pay packets continue to shrink compared to the cost of living.
"Communication with management is on-going and we hope to avoid strike action.
"The chapel meeting discussions tomorrow will be about our next steps and is not intended to be disruptive."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"The action in Essex is taking place as journalists at Newsquest centres around the country are hearing the news that their pay will be frozen, with reviews carried out later in the year. If no pay awards are made in 2012 it will be the third year in four that Newsquest journalists' salaries have stood still.
"While thousands of staff were forced into the second year of a pay freeze in 2009, company accounts show that the pay of the firm's chief executive Paul Davidson rose by 21.5% to £609,000.
"Hard working journalists at Newsquest have suffered years of cuts whilst the company continues to pay out millions to senior executive staff. The union continues to support journalists who stand up against the harsh and unjust pay regime at Newsquest."