Strike called off after higher pay offer

The NUJ chapel at Newsquest Kendal called off a planned two-day strike this week after management increased its pay offer to 2.5 per cent.

The chapel, which represents 28 journalists on the Westmorland Gazette and Lancaster Citizen, had rejected an earlier 1.5 per cent which the union claimed was worth £325.

The NUJ said it decided not to go ahead with the strike as a “gesture of good will”, but another two-day strike planned for next Wednesday and Thursday is still on. Management declined to comment this week, but has described the NUJ’s claim for a 9.5 per cent rise as “unrealistic”.

Meanwhile, talks between the NUJ and management at Newsquest’s Bradford centre were due to take place on Thursday. It follows the two-day strike last week. The union has modified its demand for a £2,000 a head pay rise and is now seeking £1,500. It has also dropped its demand for increased mileage allowances and extra holidays for long-serving journalists.

The union had planned more strikes next Monday and Tuesday and on 19, 20 and 21 of February prior to the talks. It claims that 47 journalists on the daily Telegraph & Argus, Bradford, and associated weeklies joined the strike. Offices in Bradford, Keighley, Shipley, Ilkley, Otley and Skipton were picketed. Newsquest said the action did not affect production.

NUJ northern regional organiser Miles Barter told Press Gazette: “Managements in all the disputes keep saying how disappointed, surprised and saddened they are at the journalists’ action. But what they don’t seem to realise is the journalists are at the end of their tether because of low pay and the lack of respect in the way they are treated.”

lMembers of the NUJ in six offices around England have voted to conduct a ballot for action against Trinity Mirror’s decision to close its final-salary pension schemes.

Journalists in Huddersfield, Liverpool, South London, Newcastle, Birmingham and Coventry agreed to vote for action to demand the final-salary scheme is kept going. The ballot will begin next Wednesday.

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