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January 26, 2017

Journalists on Local World titles face pay and benefits ‘discrimination’ despite ‘One Trinity Mirror’ policy

By Freddy Mayhew

Trinity Mirror “discriminates” against staff on Local World titles by giving them poorer pay packages, according to union members at the Leicester Mercury.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said that despite a company mantra of “One Trinity Mirror” and repeated calls for parity, staff on Local World titles – which were bought out by the publisher in 2015 – still do not receive the same benefits as Trinity Mirror staffers.

For example, sick pay for a Local World employee who has worked for between one and two years at the company is set at two weeks full pay and two weeks half pay. By comparison, a Trinity Mirror employee who has worked for more than a year at the company can expect 13 weeks at full pay and the same again at 60 per cent of pay.

See table comparing key benefits for employees below

Members of the NUJ Leicester chapel said: “We don’t want to put off anyone applying for jobs in Leicester. We’re a great paper and a great bunch of people to work with, but Trinity Mirror should be honest and admit that it discriminates against staff on its Local World titles.

“We have the same jobs, the same pressures and the same targets as people at the older Trinity Mirror titles, but we are treated as second class citizens when it comes to maternity pay, paternity pay and sickness pay.

“For anyone considering having or increasing their family, or who has a long-term medical condition, the difference could cost them thousands.”

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They added the cost of bringing terms and conditions for Local World staff on par with Trinity Mirror staff would be “no more than that of any of the individual members of staff they have chosen not to replace”.

The issue has been raised again following a job advert for a content editor at the Mercury that appeared online this month, with prospective employers being told they would be working for Trinity Mirror and receive a “competitive base salary” with a “strong benefits package”.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “We raised this with the company some time ago so I am very surprised to see Local World jobs, with inferior terms and benefits, still being presented as Trinity Mirror.

“The company under Simon Fox adopted a ‘One Trinity Mirror’ mantra but when it comes to staff in Local World, it does not seem to apply.

“The company needs to be open and transparent in its recruitment policy. Clearly it would be best to bring up the level of benefits for those in Local World, but if it really can’t do that at the current time, then it must not pretend with potential job applicants that the job is anything it is not.”

A spokesman for Trinity Mirror said the matter is under discussion with the NUJ.

Trinity Mirror announced last week that it was making 78 staff redundant as part of a wide-reaching operational restructure  that includes moving staff to a dozen subbing hubs being set up nationwide. Six editors on Local World titles are understood to be included in the redundancies.

Paid-for daily the Mercury has an average total circulation of 29,317 copies, according to the latest ABC figures.

A list of key benefits for employees by comparison (source: NUJ):

Benefit Local World Trinty Mirror
Paternity leave lesser of statutory pay or 90% of weekly earnings. 2 weeks full pay
Maternity leave 90% of earnings for 6 weeks, 33 weeks at statutory minimum >1 year (service) 18 weeks full pay, 21 weeks statutory minimum
Sick pay <1 year, nothing
1-2 yrs, 2 weeks full, 2 weeks half
2-3yrs, 4 weeks full, 4 weeks half
3-5, 6 weeks full, 6 weeks half
5+ 8 weeks full, 8 weeks half
<1 year, 5 days pay
>1 year, 13 weeks full pay, 13 weeks 60%
Redundancy pay statutory minimum (disputed) 2-4 weeks gross pay per year of service, depending on centre

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