NUJ accuses Reach of hypocrisy over Mirror pay inequality front page - Press Gazette

NUJ accuses Reach of hypocrisy over Mirror pay inequality front page

Mirror pay inequality front page subject of NUJ hypocrisy complaint

Update 27/6/22:

NUJ members at Reach will take part in a postal ballot for industrial action after a 3% pay offer from the company was rejected.

NUJ members at Reach were told in an email, seen by Press Gazette, on Monday that the following motion had been “overwhelmingly” passed: “This group chapel, through its constituent chapels, rejects Reach plc’s final pay offer for 2022 of 3% or £750.

“In the absence of any other significant improvement to the offer from the company, the group chapel reluctantly requests that the union now move to ballot members over potential industrial action on pay.”

The NUJ’s local chapel representatives rejected the pay offer by a ratio of four to one. The company was been informed but the process has not yet formally been triggered.

The email from the Reach NUJ leaders to members said: “The scale of this ballot is a first for the NUJ in Reach plc, but we are confident members will comprehensively back this fight against the massive pay cut the company’s final pay offer represents.”

NUJ general Michelle Stanistreet has agreed to give Reach staff who are not currently union members a 50% six-month discount on subs if they join between now and the end of July.

Original story 24/6/22:

National Union of Journalists members at Reach have accused their employer of hypocrisy after a Daily Mirror front page on fatcat pay.

The front page, published Thursday, attacked five chief executives earning up to 86 times their average workers’ pay.

NUJ members said their own CEO earns an even higher multiple of the average Reach salary, and called on the company to return to pay negotiations.

The Mirror front page (pictured) charged that “fatcat bosses at firms facing strikes over pay are raking in up to 85 times the average wages of their workers” and asked: “Got to keep pay down, PM? Try telling this lot”.

The NUJ Reach group chapel passed a motion in response stating that it “applauds the journalism behind” the splash but that “the hypocrisy between the Mirror’s editorial line and Reach plc’s corporate policy is breath-taking and serves to badly erode the brand’s credibility in the eyes of the public and those of its staff.

“While the head of BT is held up as a ‘fat cat’ boss raking in 86 times the average wages of his workers, our own chief executive Jim Mullen received a £4m+ pay package worth 107 times that of the average Reach worker (according to the latest Reach annual report).”

Daily Mirror front page about fat cat pay - may be useful for pay talk stories
Daily Mirror front page on 23 June 2022. (Higher-res version here)

Mullen placed seventh in Press Gazette’s list of best-remunerated media executives in March. His 2020-2021 remuneration was up 743% on the prior year.

The Reach chapel’s motion urged the company to return to the negotiating table over pay.

“Offering Reach workers 3% or £750 minimum final offer is an insult to our members who produce such fine journalism highlighting the cost-of-living crisis that they are being made victim of by their own company.”

Chris Morley, the NUJ national coordinator for Reach, said in a statement: “Our members think it’s a bit rich that one of Reach’s flagship publications should denounce ‘fat cat’ bosses for their greed while their workforces struggle with the cost-of-living crisis on below inflation pay rises. 

“That’s because the very journalists writing these and other excellent stories throughout the group are being told to swallow a massive pay cut by their boss getting by on a pay package worth £4m-plus last year…

“Of course, the Daily Mirror is right to highlight the huge disparities in pay between the boardroom and workforce, but if it is to remain as the voice of working people, the values behind its editorial content should at least be matched by the practice of the company that is behind the headlines.”

[Read more: Media salaries – Which news companies pay their staff the most?]

A Reach spokesperson said: “Our people are vital to Reach’s continued success and we greatly value our relationships with our journalists.

“Our priority must be to protect jobs by ensuring the Group has a sustainable future in the face of unprecedented newsprint cost inflation and an uncertain economic backdrop.”

Picture: Daily Mirror

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