NUJ: Newsquest introducing 2012 pay freeze 'by stealth'

The NUJ is claiming the regional newspaper group Newsquest is to introduce a pay freeze from January – a week after its publishing rival Trinity Mirror announced there would be no pay review for its staff in 2012.

Local NUJ chapels at the company are reporting a freeze on pay rises from January ‘with the option of a ‘review’ later in the year, the union claims.

These include staff in York, Darlington, South Essex, Bolton, Bury and the Glasgow Herald & Times. The NUJ said it will now be asking the Newsquest titles to justify the decision.

They claim that while ‘thousands of staff were forced into the second year of a pay standstill in 2009’accounts showed chief executive Paul Davidson’s pay went 21.5 per cent to £609,000.

The union said: ‘Figures from last year show that, despite using the economic situation to force through redundancies and other cutbacks, such as unpaid leave, individual companies within Newsquest (Newsquest Midlands South) made a 40% profit.

‘Journalists on a Newsquest daily or weekly title can earn typically between £18,000-£24,000.”

NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: ‘We now have growing evidence that Newsquest is trying to bring in a pay freeze across the group by stealth for 2012 at a time of unprecedented hardship for our members.

‘If there is no increase in 2012, it will be the third year in four that salaries have failed to rise.

‘This is unsustainable for massively hard-pressed staff who have not only had to contend with a 5 per cent erosion of their pay by inflation, but also had to take heavier workloads due to waves of redundancies.

‘We know from past experience that the pain is not necessarily shared by the fat cats in the boardroom and the NUJ challenges the directors to publish their remuneration packages in full for 2012. If they refuse to do this, then there will be few of their loyal staff who will believe that they are truly all in it together when it comes to belt-tightening.”

Newsquest publishers more than 200 newspapers, magazines and trade publications. Its 17 paid-for dailies include The Herald (Glasgow), The Northern Echo (Darlington), Telegraph & Argus (Bradford), Evening Times (Glasgow), Southern Daily Echo (Southampton), The Argus (Brighton), The Press (York), Oxford Mail and South Wales Argus (Newport).

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