Support Spalding Guardian strikers

Shamefully low wages...

National Union of Journalists members are striking at the Spalding Guardian in Lincolnshire, UK, where many journalists earn around half the UK average wage. At the moment trainees with university degrees are on £9,500 per annum. Qualified seniors with at least two years experience and all their professional qualifications earn just £12,000.

Update 18 June 2002...

The chapel voted for a ten-day strike, starting today. Mother of Chapel Suzanne Roberts writes:

We've completed two five-day strikes. We will be extending it as we have returned to work between strikes in the hope management will resume talks but have simply been treated with contempt...

...and 11 July 2002

And for another 10 days. And then they won.

The chapel would obviously appreciate it if any freelances asked to cover at these titles were unavailable on the strike days (see below). Any freelances who suffer hardship while being unavailable should get in touch and we'll see what can be done.

Government figures put the average wage for a non-manual worker in the UK at more than £24,000 with the overall average wage around £22,000.

Management have offered to increase the graduate starting rate to £11,000 and the newly qualified senior rate to £14,000. Other staff would receive a 2.5 percent rise.

These rates still compare badly with recent settlements so NUJ members at Spalding voted 100 percent for strike action in a ballot with an 85 percent turnout.

Spalding is the only office in the Johnston Press-owned Welland Valley Newspapers Group where the NUJ has recognition. At the other papers the pay is even worse.

Johnston Press is not poor. They have made record profits for the past two years and two months ago paid more than £500 million to buy Regional Independent Media, another newspaper group.

Time for solidarity

The journalists are to hold two five-day strikes, the first from 1 June to 5 June inclusive. Feel free to join the picket line at the Spalding Guardian office.

The first day of the strike - 1 June - is a Saturday so we are urging as many NUJ members and other trade unionists as possible to join us for a demonstration outside the paper at noon. Please bring your banners.

The strikers will need money. Please urge your union branch to hold a meeting and send a donation. You could organise a whip round in the workplace. Please make donations payable to "Spalding NUJ Chapel" and send them to

Bieber House, Wilsthorpe, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 4PE
.

Messages of support can be a huge morale booster. Please take a few seconds to email your support to union rep Suzanne Roberts on suzanne@studio-33.co.uk.

Please send polite emails protesting about the shockingly low wages to Johnston Press's group human resources director Malcolm Vickers on mvickers@johnstonpress.co.uk.

Thank you for your solidarity.

 
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Last modified: 16 July 2002

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