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April 5, 2024

National World staff set to receive pay rise of up to 6% as pay frozen for top execs

National World staff offered pay increases of between 2% and 6%. Follows Reach staff accepting 5% rise.

By Charlotte Tobitt

National World has told staff its executive directors will not receive an annual pay rise this year so funds can be “reallocated” towards increases for staff.

Staff at the publisher of newsbrands including the Yorkshire Post, The Scotsman and the Belfast News Letter have been offered an increase of between 2% and 6% depending on their salary.

In newsrooms where the National Union of Journalists has recognition, the proposed pay increases still need to be agreed with union reps as part of their collective bargaining process.

The NUJ said two weeks ago it was seeking a 7% pay rise for staff.

National World staff currently paid below £30,000 have been offered a pay increase of 6%, according to a memo sent on Thursday and seen by Press Gazette.

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Staff paid between £30,000 and £49,999 were told they would receive an increase of 4%, taking them to a minimum salary of £32,000.

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The third tier, employees paid above £50,000, will receive a 2% rise or a minimum salary of £51,750 if the proposal is accepted.

National World’s 1,200 employees were told this approach would mean 90% of all eligible staff would receive a pay rise of at least 4% with an average increase of 4.7%.

Staff were told National World’s executive directors would not receive an annual pay increase this year. This year this is likely to mean executive chairman David Montgomery, chief operating officer Mark Hollinshead, chief financial officer Sheree Manning, who joined in November, and executive director John Rowe.

Figures for 2023 are not yet available but in 2022 the executive directors received a pay increase of 3%, which the company said was in line with the minimum increase for all staff, to £206,000. In addition their pension supplements were reduced from 10% to 8% of their annual salary and capped at £125,000 to bring their arrangements in line with those for all staff.

The staff increases are due to take effect on 1 May, if accepted by the NUJ where relevant, although the practice is usually to do so in April. Staff were told the delay was to enable the company to “make awards of this level”.

The pay offer comes two weeks after National World reported revenue growth of 5% to £88.4m, with acquisitions providing a crucial boost, and adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) down 2% to £9.5m. The NUJ noted the publisher had a closing cash balance of £10.7m after the payment of its first dividend of £1.4m to shareholders.

NUJ national organiser Laura Davison said this shows National World “can afford to pay journalists a fair wage that recognises their value and role in the success of the company.

“Brutal job cuts have meant journalists across newsrooms are in fact doing more with less, and it’s time for meaningful engagement that seeks to address journalists’ concerns with pay and the long-term strategy of the business.”

National World journalists picketed outside their newsrooms in the company’s first nationwide strike in September last year in opposition to a proposed 4.5% pay increase backdated to 1 April. They also took part in a “work to rule” period meaning they only worked their contracted hours.

Most recently, journalists at Scottish broadcaster STV went on strike last week after pay talks broke down. The NUJ is seeking a 6% pay increase for its members there to keep pace with inflation.

STV has offered a 6% increase for the bottom 3% of earners at the company but said it would be “unrealistic and unaffordable” to give this to all staff.

A second strike day is currently planned for Tuesday 16 April, which could once again see programmes such as STV News at Six, the most-watched news programme in Scotland, and current affairs show Scotland Tonight taken off-air.

Meanwhile at Reach, which is the UK’s biggest commercial publisher across national and regional news, NUJ members voted by more than nine to one in favour to accept a 5% pay rise starting on 1 April.

The increase took the minimum salary for a senior journalist at Reach to £32,760.

Last year Reach staff accepted a pay increase of 4% for those earning £60,000 a year and below, and a flat £1,000 for higher-earners.

In August 2022 1,150 Reach journalists walked out on strike over a 3% pay rise. NUJ members subsequently accepted a rise of between 14% and 44% depending on their roles.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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