National World dispute: action postponed

  • 17 Oct 2023

Next week’s five-day strike has been put on hold.

Members of the NUJ’s group chapel working for National World have voted to suspend five days’ strike action due to begin next week, following the flat refusal of the management to hold talks with the union.

The union’s national executive council had called on the general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, to seek the urgent intervention of the conciliation service ACAS with a view to encouraging the management of National World to agree to urgent negotiations to spare further damage to the business. However, the company has categorically refused to hold further talks with the union.

The members working for the publisher of the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post, Portsmouth News, Sheffield Star, Belfast Newsletter, Derry Journal and 100-plus regional titles took part in three days of strikes last month (September) after the company refused to implement improved minimum salaries, address pay disparities and imposed a below-inflation pay rise. The dispute brought together the members across the UK concerned about pay unfairness, low pay and the refusal by management to listen to staff about a whole range of issues within the business.

National World reported £9.3m in operating profits last year and with £10m in cash balances, the NUJ believes it can easily address the pay issues and disparities. However, the company’s £11m cash acquisition last month of Midland News Association and Press Computer Systems and its declaration of interest over the sale of the Telegraph showed where the company’s priorities lie – and it is not with the hardworking staff.

Laura Davison, national organiser,  said:

“We are very proud of our members at National World and their determined action so far to address the poor pay on their newspapers and websites. It is hugely disappointing that the company has flatly refused to engage and listen to the concerns of staff. Reps have made a pragmatic decision to postpone next week’s action with its consequent loss of pay. The work to rule will continue as planned and the union will act in solidarity to pursue this dispute.”

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