Anger in Ireland as owners boycott pay survey
THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists has condemned the Regional Newspapers Association of Ireland (RNAI) for refusing to take part in an exercise aimed at ending the scandal of low pay in the local newspaper sector. The union's Irish Executive Council (IEC) has decided to refer the pay claim to the Labour Relations Court.
The union is seeking the updating of a 30-year old national agreement, including an improvement in the recommended minimum rates. Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley said: "The RNAI negotiating team has insisted that most newspapers pay significantly above the minimum rates. At our negotiations they claimed that they had verified this through a survey... They refused to share the information and the survey seemed to have acquired the status of the third secret of Fatima. On that basis we put forward proposals for an open pay survey and a benchmarking process to measure pay against other professions.
"The RNAI Executive has refused to co-operate and I can only conclude that they realise that the results would be uncomfortable for their members."
Mary Maher, Cathaoirleach of the IEC, said: "Regional papers are highly lucrative and this is reflected in the prices paid for titles in recent acquisitions... We had hoped for an enlightened approach, which would give us a comprehensive agreement recognising long-service, posts of responsibility and qualification. Instead the RNAI Executive has simply frustrated the process."