THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists (NUJ) is preparing a nationwide Fair Pay Now campaign against low pay in the media industry.
Around 50 workplace activists met in London on Saturday to hear NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear speak on just how far salaries have fallen—the result of ten years of union derecognition—and what the union can begin to do about it.
Trainees on some local papers earn as little as £10,000 a year. The minimum wage at the Financial Times is half what it was in 1987.
Meanwhile major newspaper groups are swimming in a sea of profits, and 30 percent profit rates are almost the industry standard.
Jeremy Dear was joined by several full time organisers and lay activists who reported on the campaigns the union has waged and the experiences which have contributed to the union’s national strategy.
Several activists spoke of how such activity had helped them recruit to the union, and how this had raised confidence to take on the employers.
The union is planning to publish a series of posters and leaflets, hold union meetings around the country, organise protests at media events, prepare for action across media groups, and combine parliamentary pressure with, wherever possible, industrial action.
Dear also proposed a national day of action in mid to late 2005.
Many speakers made it clear that equal pay for women will be a key aspect of the campaign.
The NUJ has linked up with Labour Research magazine to launch PayLine—a website detailing bargaining information.
It holds details of almost 2,500 agreements covering pay, hours, holidays and other conditions of employment, and can be accessed by all NUJ members.