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Newsquest members in Essex announce strike action on pay

26 January 2012

NUJ members at Newsquest South East Essex plan to take action about pay at the end of January. Members of the chapel voted overwhelmingly in favour (90.5%) of the strike action and action short of a strike (95.2%) on the grounds that the company had introduced yet another pay freeze.

The industrial action will consist of a two-weeks work to rule, starting on Monday 30 January followed by three days of strike action starting on Monday 13 February.

Staff were due a pay rise in January this year, but were told this would not be given and would be reviewed again in June. However, the company will not guarantee that any pay rises will be given then.

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.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary said:

"Newsquest endlessly attack journalists jobs, pay, terms and conditions. Our members are facing a real-term pay cut and declining living standards.
"It is the price paid by media workers who produce Newsquest and Gannett profits. The company time and again fails to recognise hard-working staff are the business' best assets."

Sally King, Mother of the Newsquest South Essex chapel said:

"No one wants to take this action. It is a reflection of the deep disappointment and genuine concern about their ability to pay bills that members feel, that they voted this way.
"By freezing pay - and even when a rise is offered keeping it well below inflation - it seems members of staff are being penalised for their loyalty.
"The chapel is also disappointed to hear management has told non-unionised members of editorial team at the Echo and its sister papers, the Colchester Gazette, Thurrock Gazette and Chelmsford and Brentwood Weekly News, that they will be awarded overtime payments for working 10-hour shifts during the strike action."

Tags: , gannett, regional newspapers, strike, essex, newsquest, pay, newspapers