18 July 2002

Chronicle of woe

National Union of Journalists members at the Mirror-owned Newcastle Chronicle and Journal have rejected a slightly improved pay offer and will strike on Thursday 25 July and Thursday 1 August.

The chapel would obviously appreciate it if any freelances asked to cover at these titles were unavailable. Any freelances who suffer hardship while being unavailable should get in touch with the chapel: if you have trouble contacting them, contact the Freelance.

The new proposals left most NUJ members receiving just 2 percent. Trainees would start on £12,250 per year - compared to a reported average graduate starting salary of £19,000.

The minimum rate for journalists with all their professional qualifications, working on some of the UK's most prestigious regional titles is £17,500 - less than £10 a week more than a McDonalds trainee manager on their first day in the job.

Chronicle and Journal boss Steve Brown told a union meeting that Trinity Mirror's profit margin - 25 percent of turnover - is not high enough. After his speech only four NUJ members voted against strike action.

Supporters are asked to visit the picket line between 6am and 7pm at the Groat Market, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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 your workplace. Individual donations are also welcome. Please make donations payable to Newcastle NUJ Branch and send them to:

11 Trinity Courtyard, Newcastle, NE6 1TS

Messages of support can be a huge morale booster. Please take a few seconds to email your support to the chapel (workplace branch) on geomacstg@onyxnet.co.uk

Feel free to send these details on to friends in the NUJ and wider labour movement.

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London Freelance Branch can't decide on a donation fron Branch funds until its meeting on 9 September. The Branch committee encourages members to send individual donations.

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Last modified: 24 July 2002

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