NUJ reacts to National World full year results  

  • 17 Mar 2023

Union urges publisher to offer fair pay increases following strong digital growth. 

The National Union of Journalists has welcomed publication of National World’s full-year results for 2022, indicating operating profits of over £9m. Noting an increase in its cash balance, the union is urging the publisher to accept pay claims put forward by local chapels ensuring journalists receive fair pay rises.  

National World’s digital revenue growth has increased by 26 per cent and the company has invested over £1m dollars in a social-first media company, in line with its ongoing push for digital income streams.

The strategy contained in the statement from Executive Chairman David Montgomery in the full results includes reference to promoting "individual talent" assisted by "greater automation" and states an intention to become a 'digital only' business, although it's not clear what that means in practice.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

"Our members are keen to understand what is meant by 'digital only' when such a significant proportion of the company's revenue still comes from print. They also want assurances that automation won't mean a reduction in the quality local journalism that readers rightly expect or further job cuts like those which have taken place in the last 12 months."

An NUJ National World Group Chapel representative, said:

"While the company's latest financial results offer welcome news on the digital growth of the business, the increase in operating profits has not been without sacrifice. A number of newsrooms have seen cuts to their teams over the past 12 months, with experienced and respected journalists leaving as a result.

"Those that remain are working harder than ever and have - as Mr Montgomery noted - shown great dedication and professionalism despite the challenges faced. We hope to see that commitment now rewarded with a meaningful pay rise that not only recognises the financial pressures facing individual staff, but also addresses disparities that exist within our newsrooms." 

Following consultation with members across the business, NUJ local chapels submitted pay claims that seek to introduce minimum editorial pay rates similar to those agreed at Reach plc after industrial action by NUJ members last September. 

Chapels are also seeking a minimum pay rise of 10 per cent for all editorial staff to ensure that those who would not benefit from the introduction of minimum pay rates are not left to experience another real-terms cut in their pay. 

Analysis of pay scales by the NUJ shows that newly-qualified senior journalists on some National World titles can expect to earn as little as £22,753 at present, with journalists at the same stage in their career earning £26,855 at The Yorkshire Post - one of the company's flagship titles. This is compared to a minimum rate for senior journalists of £30,000 at Reach. 

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