Mirror, Express and Star publisher Reach is setting market rates only according to its own portfolio of newspapers in pay rise negotiations with a journalists’ union, Press Gazette has learned.
The publisher has offered a two per cent pay rise to members of the Reach Bargaining Group, led by alternative journalists’ union the British Association of Journalists.
The rise, which has been recommended by the BAJ to the group’s roughly 300 members, is capped at £1,500 per person – although only editorial staff paid £75,000 a year would hit that limit.
But, for the second year running, the pay offer does not include casual staff rates or payments to journalists for attending sporting matches.
BAJ general secretary Matthew Myatt said Reach management had claimed it already pays “above market rates” in explaining the lack of increased fees and have provided data to support this.
“However, they define the market rate based on national titles within Reach,” he said in a note to members, seen by Press Gazette.
Myatt said the union was gathering further data from the wider market to challenge this “as we believe that the ‘market’ should include all non-broadsheet titles”.
Reach was formed after Trinity Mirror bought out Express and Star newspapers earlier this year. It now owns seven UK national newspapers and some 200 regional titles.
Last year the BAJ group won a two per cent rise after negotiating up from 1.5 per cent. The exclusion of casuals and match fees was accepted then “because times were hard”, said Myatt.
“But for the second year running with an argument that they are paying market rates without being able to show us – that’s not on.”
A vote on the deal is set for midday on Thursday.
Press Gazette understands from sources at Reach that sport journalists are facing a move from the Mirror’s Canary Wharf newsroom to the Northern and Shell building near Monument (both in London) where the Express and Star newspapers were based under former owner Richard Desmond.
Myatt said the union is “continuing to vigorously engage with management as to the future direction of sport staff”.
The BAJ is the recognised union for Reach. A separate bargaining group for Express newspapers is led by the National Union of Journalists.
Reach has been contacted for comment.
Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire