National World seeks to impose 4.5 per cent pay offer

  • 04 Apr 2023

The publisher has opened its annual pay talks with the offer of a below-inflation pay rise, adding that it will only negotiate on how the total pot is distributed in each area.

The National Union of Journalists has expressed disappointment at National World’s failure to enter into meaningful talks on a fair pay deal with the union, with the purpose of addressing historic pay inequalities at the company. 

The publisher of 150 online and print titles including The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman imposed a below-inflation 4.5 per cent pay rise on 1 April for all staff who fall outside a local bargaining unit or work in a business area with no trade union recognition.  

Existing pay disparities at the company mean journalists working alongside each other in the same roles and teams can be paid varying salaries for their work, based purely on when they were appointed. The NUJ’s pay claim had attempted to tackle this issue to ensure the removal of such inequalities in newsrooms was prioritised.

A group chapel representative said:

"We are extremely disappointed with the hostile way in which the company has approached this year's talks and its attempts to limit their scope to its proposed real-terms pay cut only.

"Our pay claims included proposed minimum pay rates that were designed to address disparities within newsrooms that are entirely of the company's making. Instead of coming back with an offer that reflected our very valid concerns about those disparities, the company has told reps that the annual pay talks are not the time to discuss the issue.

"Addressing the pay disparities and the unacceptably low salaries offered in many parts of the business could not be more important than at a time when our members are struggling to cope with the effects of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

"The company claims that its reason for refusing meaningful negotiations on all aspects of pay is its desire for everyone to get a pay rise as soon as possible. If they really cared about that then the true decision-makers would get round the table with the NUJ for a single set of intensive national talks."

National World has offered a 4.5 per cent increase to the members of local bargaining units across the company but is unwilling to negotiate further on that headline figure, stating the offer is final and non-negotiable.

The union had asked for negotiations to also include pay increases for freelances and casual workers, and a consistent company-wide approach to payments for working on public holidays and home working allowances.

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