The first strike by journalists over pay in over a decade has won a victory at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus titles. After just one half-day stoppage by NUJ union members, management at the Newsquest-owned titles were forced to offer a deal worth 3 percent. The Bradford NUJ chapel (workplace union branch) was the first to win back recognition at Newsquest, which owns papers across the country and is owned by US multinational Gannett.
The deal is worth £500 across the board on all grades. It includes a pay banding structure which the company had previously refused to consider. The trainee rate has also been increased by £1,500 to £12,000 a year. The chapel accepted an improved offer just two days before a planned one-day strike, after negotiations with the company involving outgoing NUJ general secretary John Foster.
It shows that action wins, even though it is possible that more could have been won had the action continued. 'It shows what you get for just a half-day strike,' said one NUJ member. The strike drew a marvellous show of solidarity from union members right across the country, with thousands of pounds sent in donations and collections.
The knock-on effects of the victory have already started, with NUJ members at Newsquest titles in Bolton and Bury beginning pay negotiations. The Bradford union chapel has also called a pay campaign meeting on 13 February at 6.30pm in the Victoria Hotel, Drake Street, Bradford. NUJ activists should build for this meeting.
JOURNALISTS at Express Newspapers have voted unanimously to reject a 1.8 percent pay offer and to ballot members on industrial action.
The move comes after a year which has seen 135 staff made redundant, the wage bill slashed by 20 percent, and working space reduced by half. Anger over all that saw 70 members at an NUJ chapel meeting agree that we were going to demand more money.
The company is already crowing that it expects profits to be around £70 million this year. The Express chapel have agreed that any pay increase will be divided equally between the workforce.