SYN will not increase pay while under stike threat

South Yorkshire Newspapers has said it will not implement its offer of pay increases while under the threat of strike action.

NUJ members at the company voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action after nine months of attempting to secure a pay deal with management.

SYN management has offered an across-the-board pay rise of 2.75 per cent while the union is pushing for a 5 per cent pay rise.

A statement issued by SYN chief executive Terry Johnson said: "The company's pay offer is competitive and along with the improvements made to the grading structure over recent years represents a very fair overall basic offer.

"Whilst we always endeavour to take a positive approach to improving our employee's pay and conditions, we believe that in the current economic climate we have now made our best and final offer. We still remain open to constructive discussions however we cannot implement the pay increases whilst under threat of industrial action."

A sharp majority of 85.7 per cent of journalists at the Johnston Press-owned group are planning to strike on 12, 18 and 19 July unless they can strike a deal with their bosses.

The strike would be combined with a work to rule meaning a total ban on working evenings and weekends for a two-week period starting from 10 July.

Some journalists on the papers are paid £11,400 and according the union, some who have worked at the company for twenty years and have a high level of responsibility are on salaries "little more than £20,000."

Mother of chapel at SYN Emma Roots (pictured) said: "Salaries have declined so much in real terms over the past decade that we believe it is essential to begin reversing that trend, and so we have asked for an increase above the rate of inflation.

"This is a reluctant last resort after almost a year of persistent attempts by the union to engage management in meaningful dialogue. "The decision to strike was not taken lightly – but we aim to send a message to Johnston Press that its policy of pittance pay is causing real harm to the very industry which is filling its coffers."

The union has also expressed concern that workloads have been increasing on top of the fact that staff who are leaving the company are not being replaced.

South Yorkshire Newspapers publishes the Doncaster Free Press, with a readership of 113,000. It also publishes weekly titles The Epworth Bells, The Doncaster Advertiser, The Goole Courier and The Gainsborough Standard as well as seven monthly Community Newsletters.

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