Socialist Worker

York striking journalists' quest for real pay justice

by Frank Ormston
Issue No. 2103

Journalists on the march in York

Journalists on the march in York

A lively and enthusiastic 25-strong picket on Thursday of last week marked the start of a five-day strike over pay by 34 journalists at Newsquest York.

The strike hit The Press, the city’s daily paper, and the weekly Gazette & Herald.

The NUJ union members’ pickets attracted a lot of support from passers-by, with the hooting of car, van, and lorry horns looking likely to give management a headache.

The journalists produced a daily strike bulletin, The Stress, and maintained a picket throughout the strike.

“We’re not asking for much,” one sports journalist told Socialist Worker.

“But a 3 percent rise is way below inflation, and it’s even less than the 3.5 percent that journalists at most other papers in the Newsquest group have been offered.”


Pickets distributed copies of The Stress to passers-by, and toured the city replacing Press bill posters outside newsagents with placards detailing their demands.

Many newsagents seemed happy to let the strikers’ placards remain in place.

Some strikers picketed in Edwardian costume to commemorate the NUJ’s first ever strike, which was in York at The Herald in 1911 – a fight against working 14 hours a day, six days a week.

Most of the strikers took an active role in picketing, leafleting, collecting donations, distributing the strike paper, and petitioning.

The picket itself took on a party atmosphere, with plenty of singing and dancing.

Pickets sang the US socialist classic “Joe Hill”.

Messages of support and donations flooded in from all over the country, including from local councillors and MPs.

The Press was still being produced, but with two and three day old stories.

York has long had a reputation as a low wage city, and the journalists’ stand struck a chord with many other workers here.

The journalists rounded off the action on bank holiday Monday with a lunchtime march around the city centre followed by a rally outside York Minster.

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Article information

Tue 27 May 2008, 18:52 BST
Issue No. 2103
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