NUJ joins tens of thousands marching to call for a pay rise
Fiona Swarbrick, National Organiser, holds the NUJ banner - © NUJ
Alan Gibson, NEC member, holds the London magazine branch banner - © NUJ
Paul Scott, NEC member, and Andy Smith, joint president, carry the NUJ book branch banner - © NUJ
18 October 2014
Members of the NUJ took part in demonstrations in three cities to protest about austerity and to demand a pay rise for workers.
Frances O'Grady, Trades Union Congress general secretary, said the massive turnout on the Britain needs a pay rise marches sent a strong message to government.
The TUC said workers were facing a significant squeeze on incomes, with average wages down by £50 a week in real terms since 2007 and 5 million people earning less than the minimum wage.
Frances O'Grady, said:
"After the longest and deepest pay squeeze in recorded history, it's time to end the lockout that has kept the vast majority from sharing in the economic recovery. Meanwhile, top directors now earn 175 times more than the average worker. If politicians wonder why so many feel excluded from the democratic process, they should start with bread-and-butter living standards."
The marches followed a number of public sector strikes, including civil servants and NHS workers in response to the government's 1 per cent pay offer.
Journalists are also feeling the pinch. Staff at Newsquest, which owns titles including the Herald, in Glasgow, Brighton Argus, Oxford Mail, South Wales Argus and Northern Echo have, for the most part, suffered for five of the past six years without any rise. They have often been pushed into taking unpaid leave and having allowances and other benefits axed as part of savage cost-cutting.
Paul Davidson, the newspaper group's chief executive signed off his final year with a 9.5 per cent pay rise, while his staff's wages went down by almost £5 million. His salary was the equivalent of 25 journalists' jobs.
Journalists at the Express and Star have not had pay increases for seven years. Their owner, Richard Desmond, is in the process of making 200 staff redundant at the Express and Star newspapers, at the same time as pocketing £463.3m from the sale of Channel 5 to the American media company, Viacom.
Andy Smith, NUJ joint president, said:
"I hope the message that ordinary working people are sick of having to put up with no pay rises when their bills are going up is not ignored.This was a great show of solidarity among unions.
"The NUJ will continue to fight to support members' pay deals; and we have had successes.The threat of industrial action at the BBC led to a better deal than the original 1 per cent offered."