Southern Daily Echo agrees pay deal

The NUJ chapel at the Newsquest-owned Southern Daily Echo in Southampton has agreed a 2.5 per cent across-the-board pay rise from 1 July, writes Jon Slattery.

FoC David Brine said: “Members voted by a clear majority to accept the offer. We are delighted the settlement was reached so promptly after the protracted negotiations over last year’s deal.”

Daily Echo editor Ian Murray said he was grateful to the union negotiators for their common-sense approach to the talks, which began in late April. “The agreement covers a number of issues, including the establishment of a firm banding for chief reporters and the creation of a banding structure allied to training for advertising feature writers,” he added.

Meanwhile, striking journalists at Newsquest Bolton voted on Friday by 30 to 19 to accept a return-to-work formula which involves a 2 per cent pay rise for most staff, 3 per cent for those on the lowest grade and one-off length of service payments for some long term staff. The journalists, whose titles include the Bolton Evening News and Bury Times, had been on strike for five weeks.

The NUJ chapel at Newsquest Bradford began “open-ended” strike action on Monday. They had already taken more than 30 days of selected industrial action over a pay dispute. Newsquest Bradford managing director David Coates said: “We are not concerned about this latest action. The majority of our editorial staff are working normally and continuing to produce superb newspapers.”

But a chapel spokesman said: “I don’t see how they can say publication has not been affected when they are using casuals and people who would normally be doing unpaid work experience. They are not going to produce the same quality as experienced staff. Most journalists, 48 out of 90, are supporting the action.”

Jon Slattery

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