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December 19, 2017

Swindon Advertiser journalists plan two-day strike action over Newsquest ‘poverty pay’

By Freddy Mayhew

Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser are set to strike for two days in the New Year over “low and unfair pay” at the Newsquest-owned daily newspaper.

Pending a settlement, the industrial action, backed by the National Union of Journalists, will take place on 2 and 3 January, 2018.

It comes as Swindon NUJ chapel claims Newsquest Wiltshire and Oxfordshire are on course to make a £4m operating profit this year.

They added: “By contrast a decent wage rise for all Swindon journalists, where poor pay is a growing problem in recruiting and retaining staff, would be measured in the tens of thousands of pounds.”

The NUJ claims it is still waiting to hear back from Newsquest on offers to sit round the table and talk. But Newsquest says staff received a pay increase “just four months ago”.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “Our members at Newsquest are taking a determined stand against poverty pay and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the injustice and inequality that sees colossal profits channelled out of the local centre at the expense of local journalism.

“The community will be shocked to learn just how few journalists there are at Newsquest in Swindon and just how little Newsquest values their professional skills.

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“At a time when the company is also attempting to force through more job cuts and get remaining staff to take on extra work we salute the chapel in tabling this action to highlight what is happening.”

A Newsquest spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the NUJ has taken this stance and it seems they are not in touch with the real world and oblivious to the huge pressures on the economics of local newspapers.

“Despite the fact that Swindon’s revenues are declining by more than 10 per cent, the staff there received a pay increase just four months ago. We are of course happy to continue to have meaningful discussions with the NUJ in order to resolve this issue.”

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