Newsquest journalists have submitted pay demands as part of a national campaign against “rubbish pay” at the regional publisher.
The National Union of Journalists’ Newsquest chapels are asking for an 8 per cent pay rise, or an extra £2,000 on their salaries, whichever is higher.
Three per cent of the 8 per cent pay rise demand accounts for inflation last year. The remainder is meant to bring pay in-line with a 4.9 per cent increase in the national living wage this year.
The NUJ claimed that Newsquest trainee journalists could start on £16,500 while some of the highest-earning editorial staff, with up to 30 years experience, could be on just £26,000.
The pay demand was made yesterday, on Valentine’s Day.
Newsquest NUJ national coordinator Chris Morley said Newsquest chapels had “fired an arrow of passion from Cupid’s bow to local management to lodge their annual pay claims”.
“They want to show how much burning desire there is among NUJ members to start the recovery from the severe neglect of their pay by the company over many years,” he added.
“While Newsquest’s parent Gannett is fending off the unwanted attentions of a $1.4bn hostile takeover bid by vulture capitalists, the thousands of UK employees in Newsquest cannot be ignored and condemned to exist on rubbish pay forever.
He added: “The largesse heaped on directors makes a mockery of the pay for journalists. The annual pay for new news apprentices at Newsquest is just £7,250 while the boardroom remuneration bill runs to millions.”
Newsquest declined to comment on the NUJ pay campaign.
Newsquest journalists in Cumbria walked out in December over job cuts and “poor pay” at the company, but Newsquest said its staff were “far more secure” than they had been before it took over the local publisher CN Group.
Newsquest is owned by the US firm Gannett, which rejected a takeover bid of $12 per share from a rival US publisher earlier this month.