National World shuns journalists’ pay with new £11m acquisitions
NUJ urges publisher to use cash reserves to address pay concerns at the company, following purchase of the Express & Star and the Shropshire Star.
The National Union of Journalists is dismayed at news of National World’s acquisition of the Express & Star and the Shropshire Star whilst failing to negotiate over improved pay terms for journalists. The announcement on 29 September comes amid an ongoing pay dispute at the company with hundreds of journalists taking strike action on three dates in September.
The acquisition notice published today, details the £11m cash purchase will add 40 per cent to the publisher's daily circulation sales, whilst leaving the company with £9m in cash reserves once £1m debt is paid. The NUJ believes funds must be directed towards an improved pay package for journalists at the company.
National World has paid a total of £14m in several acquisitions throughout 2023, while failing to address entrenched pay disparities and low rates for journalists. By not revising its position on pay, journalists have been subsiding purchases through inadequate and uncompetitive salaries.
Staff face increased workloads with understaffed teams and a failure by the publisher to address resulting low morale and worsening mental health. The NUJ’s repeated efforts to engage in meaningful negotiations has been met with hostility in recent months, despite viable options presented by the union to settle the pay dispute.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
“Members are stunned at National World’s actions as they shun discussions with the NUJ on improved pay for members. Paying millions for new titles as existing journalists at the company share the impact of financial difficulties shows a blatant disregard for the value of its staff. It is clear National World’s priorities lay far from improving journalists’ pay and retention - reps will meet early next week to discuss today's news alongside next steps in the campaign.”