LINCOLNSHIRE Free Press and Spalding Guardian journalists have just embarked on a 20-day strike. This latest action comes after two five-day strikes proved unsuccessful at getting management talking. Our salaries and recognition of our professional skills and experience have been eroded over many years.
Management offered to raise pay for current staff, but they insisted on keeping a lower level of £10,500 for new trainees. The Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian last year made a profit of more than £1.3 million.
They are owned by Johnston Press, which last year made profits of £89.5 million-up 6.6 percent on the record figure of 2000. We have been told a 2.5 per cent annual pay rise is reward enough. Our members voted unanimously in a legally conducted ballot to go out on strike. We gave eight days notice of that action-we were only legally obliged to give seven.
Management has said it has met, and in some cases exceeded, our demands. This is not true. We returned to work between strikes in the hope management would resume talks, but we have been treated with contempt and hounded by our editor to work harder. We shall not be going back until this dispute is resolved. We are determined to continue our fight, and take heart from the many messages of support and donations we have received so far.