Newsquest staff lobby for pay rise
27 September 2010
NUJ members at Newsquest have put in a claim for a 5 per cent to 8 per cent pay rise.
The firm is Britain's second-biggest regional newspaper publisher and is the only one with a policy of pay freezes. Most of its journalists have not had a pay rise for two years.
Managers have also revealed plans to close its final salary pension scheme that may lock pensionable pay at rates set in 2007.
Journalists in Bradford, Darlington and York have been offered new contracts that state there is no automatic annual pay review. This risks limiting pay rates regardless of company profit levels.
But low pay does not apply to everyone at Newsquest. The latest accounts from Newsquest Media plc show that the highest-paid director got a 21.5 per cent "performance-related bonus" last year, boosting his £500,000 salary to £610,000.
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, has written to Newsquest's parent company boss, Craig A Dubow, chairman and chief executive of Gannett Inc in the US, to raise the union's concerns
Bob Smith, father of the NUJ's Newsquest group chapel, said:
"Decent pay and pensions for all is the only sustainable basis for long-term success.
"Paying poverty rates and meager pensions cause higher levels of staff turnover, absenteeism, resentment, demoralisation and lack of motivation.
"It is simply not acceptable for Newsquest to pay out big money to the people at the top and expect the rest of the staff to tighten their belts year after year."