Support Yorkshire journalists, again

21 Jan 2003

Six of the best...

National Union of Journalists members at Newsquest Bradford - a division of the giant US media firm Gannett - have named six dates for strike action over pay.

The journalists will walk out on January 30 and 31, and again on February 10, 11, 19 and 20. Feel free to join us on the picket lines outside the company's offices in Bradford, Shipley, Otley, Keighley, Skipton, and Ilkley in the north of England.

28 Jan 2003

Kendal - no mint yet

National Union of Journalists members at Newsquest Kendal - in Cumbria - have opened up a second front in the battle over low pay with US media giant Gannett.

A well-attended meeting voted unanimously to call six days of strike action at the Westmorland Gazette and Lancaster Citizen papers. The walkouts will happen on February 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20.

The chapel (workplace branch) - who even on the company's figures earn £6000 per year below the average UK wage - rejected an offered £325 increase per person per year. On the 2001 figures it would have taken the firm just two days to earn enough profit to pay the rise offered.

Can pay, won't pay...

The Bradford area journalists have asked for a pay rise of £2000 per year each - which would still leave most of them well below the UK average wage of £24,000. The company have offered 2 per cent - less than inflation.

Newsquest Bradford makes £23,000 per day. That means they had made enough to pay this year's £2,000 per person claim in full by just after lunchtime on January 9.

The chapel - workplace NUJ branch - also asked for extra money for loyal and experienced journalists. Editor Perry Austin-Clarke responded by writing to the chapel: "I am certain that your members would not wish individuals to receive extra payments merely for coming to work, regardless of their performance levels and especially where poor performance reflects on the work levels of other members."

In 2001 - the last year for which figures have been published - the company made a pre-tax profit of £8.7 million - an increase of 17.6 percent on 2000.

During negotiations the company told the NUJ that their draft accounts for 2002 showed profits down year on year by three percent. That means profits of £8.4 million pounds.

During 2001 the dividend paid to shareholders - in other words Newsquest UK in Surrey and Gannett in the USA - was increased by 82 percent to £6.5 million.

How you can help

  • As well as joining the picket line you could send a polite message to Newsquest UK chief executive Paul Davidson by visiting www.newsquest.co.uk/your_comments.html or faxing 020 8646 3997.
  • The chapel would obviously appreciate it if any freelances asked to cover at Newsquest titles were unavailable. Any freelances who suffer hardship while being unavailable, get in touch with the chapel.
  • Please send a message of support to bradfordnuj@yahoo.co.uk - it only takes a few seconds and makes a huge difference to morale.
  • The chapel needs money to sustain the dispute. Please ask your union branch or chapel to send a donation. Why not organise a workplace collection? You don't have to be a union rep to start it and you could be pleasantly surprised by how many people donate. Point out that if the Bradford journalists win it will mean that your management has to take workers more seriously - and just talking to people about workers who are standing up for themselves strengthens your organisation. Send cheques and postal orders to Newsquest Bradford NUJ chapel, at NUJ, 22, Swan Street, Manchetser, M4 5JQ.
  • Ask for a speaker at your next union meeting. Email bradfordnuj@yahoo.co.uk
  • Forward this message to anyone who you think would like to help.
 
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