NewsQuest in Lancs & Yorks

24 September 2003

The dispute at Newsquest papers in Bradford is over: the two sides have agreed to negotiate in 2004.

11 June 2003

JOURNALISTS at Newsquest Bradford have been on all-out strike since May 26 in their fight to bust the Newsquest group's 2 per cent pay rise ceiling. They had already taken 31 days of action since January.

But colleagues in Bolton and Bury ended a month-long stoppage and have negotiated a new deal.

And at another Newsquest paper, the News Shopper series in south east London, talks are under way to avert another strike. The chapel voted for stoppages by 16 to 2 and set June 5 as a start date, but managers resumed talks with an improved offer.

The company has already paid the 2 per cent increase to non-union executives and has made an additional offer -- £660 a head - to union members, but this was conditional on leaving a vacant post unfilled. The chapel wants 2.5 per cent plus a regional weighting of £1,750 a year.

The Bolton Evening News and Bury Times journalists returned to work on May 23 after a total of 31 days on strike. The agreement improves the general 2 per cent rise by raising the basic grade rates by 3 per cent. Journalists with more than two years service will receive a one-off payment under a performance/long service scheme. And there will be a guaranteed Retail Price Index rise next year.

The NUJ said: "This has brought welcome changes for some of our lowest-paid staff because they are on the lowest grades. We are also pleased the company has agreed to reward long service."

The Bradford journalists have been offered only small discretionary long-service payments on top of the 2 per cent.

General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: ""Given that Newsquest have given some of the lowest pay rises this year we will be targeting them next year as a central part of our campaign against low pay. We are planning a series of activities to highlight low pay at the company.

28 May 2003

The chapel at the News Shopper titles in South London voted to strike indefinitely from 23 May.

And staff at the Craven Herald in Skipton joined the Bolton/Bury action after being addressed by MD David Coates as to why the strike was wrong. All nine staff excepting the editor and deputy immediately joined the union and the dispute.

15 May 2003

Newsquest Bradford journalists have voted to strike indefinitely from 26 May.

Those at Newquest Bolton/Bury remain on strike.

Journalists at Newsquest's News Shopper titles covering Beckenham Bromley + Orpington, Bexley Dartford + Sidcup, Greenwich Lewisham + Woolwich, and Gravesend are also now balloting on action in support of their pay claim.

01 May 2003

Newsquest Bradford journalists are on strike today and tomorrow. Check back for any further dates.

Those at Newquest Bolton/Bury are currently on strike "indefinitely"

08 April 2003

National Union of Journalists members at Newsquest Bradford have voted 91 per cent in favour of more strikes in a secret ballot - an even bigger majority than when they first voted in January.

They have named 12 new days for strike action - between Wednesday April 16 and Sunday April 27.

Twenty-seven UK MPs have so far signed the signed an Early Day Motion calling on the American-owned newspaper publisher to make a realistic pay offer to the striking journalists.

Read the EDM and see who has signed at http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=926

02 April 2003

More strike days

NUJ members on Newsquest's Bolton and Bury titles have named four days of strike action over pay. They plan to walk out on April 9, 10, 16, and 17.

The US parent company Gannett has announced worldwide profits for 2002 of 1.1 billion dollars.

The Early Day catches the worms

Fourteen UK Members of Parliament have signed an Early Day Motion - a parliamentary petition - calling on American-owned newspaper publisher Newsquest to make a realistic pay offer to the striking journalists in Bradford.

Read the EDM and see who has signed at edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=926

This is our chance to make the scandalously low pay of journalists a political issue. Please use the attached model letter (MS Word file) to write to your MP urging them to sign the motion. The signatories so far are from Labour, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru. However unlikely you think it is that your MP will support the motion, please still send the letter. If they just raise your concerns with Newsquest it will be a headache for the company.

To find email and fax addresses for MPs go to www.urban75.com/Action/politicians.html or www.faxyourmp.com or post to House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Don't forget to put your address on the letter so your MP knows you are a constituent.

If your MP has signed the motion please thank them and ask them to raise the issue with Newsquest (see model letter).

Nine Nine Nine

The Newsquest Bradford strikers received a massive boost last Friday when nine new members joined the National Union of Journalists at the Skipton office of the Craven Herald. On the Tuesday managing director David Coates visited the Herald to explain the company's position. Three days later everyone except the editor and deputy joined the union!

After a solid ten day strike the chapel are now holding a second industrial action ballot to renew their legal protection.

The company have not improved their below-inflation two percent pay offer. Graduate trainees are on as little as £12,000 and qualified senior journalists on just £15,000. On the daily Telegraph and Argus there are journalists with 30 years service on less than £20,000.

Visit the chapels' websites at www.geocities.com/bradfordnuj and www.geocities.com/boltonburynuj

Photo © Stalingrad O'Neill

And they did... the Bradford picket line on 17 February

14 February 2003

NUJ members at two Newsquest-owned newspaper groups in the north of England are to walk out on Monday 17 February after talks over low pay failed to produce improved offers from management.

In Bradford, where bosses have offered 2 per cent, the strike lasts for five days. In Kendal bosses are offering 2.5 percent and the walkout will last until Thursday.

The Bradford chapel - workplace branch - agreed yesterday to name ten more days for strike action. The dates will not be announced until the company has been formally informed as required by law.

5 February 2003

Jaw-jaw & class war

The management at Newsquest Kendal - part of the US media giant Gannett - increased their pay offer to 2.5 percent yesterday afternoon. It was originally 1.5 percent. The company has also agreed to talk about a proper pay banding structure.

National Union of Journalists members at the Westmorland Gazette and Lancaster Citizen have rejected the new offer but agreed to postpone the strikes planned for today and tomorrow as a gesture of goodwill.

Walkouts will still happen on 12, 13, 19 and 20 February.

Journalists at Newsquest Bradford - also in the north of England - held two successful strikes on Thursday and Friday of last week.

More strikes are planned for 10, 11, 19, and 20 February and an extra day has been added on 21 February. Talks are scheduled for Thursday.

See the Bradford chapel (workplace branch) website at www.geocities.com/bradfordnuj

The companies make enough profit to have paid this year's pay claims in full by January 10.

They couldn't run a bath...

Newsquest Bradford bosses expressed solidarity with their colleagues in Kendal by sending the editor of the Craven Herald and the deputy chief sub of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus across the Pennines to help break the strike that didn't happen. What a waste of shareholders' money! We'll have fun in a fortnight when journalists at both groups strike on the same days.

Westmorland Gazette editor Mike Glover was told yesterday evening that the strike was off. Unfortunately he forgot to tell his loyal lieutenants. The poor editor of the Lancaster Citizen turned up for work this morning at 7am!

Newsquest Bradford bosses have told anyone who will listen that last week's strike had no effect on production. So presumably Saturday's Telegraph and Argus intended to carry the same story twice, along with the picture of children at a Halloween event.

Friday's T&A carried a feature on the Yorkshire Ripper. See next week's paper to find out whether Mr Chamberlain secured peace in our time.

Newsquest UK's chief executive Paul Davidson visited the Bradford site today. Did he have the guts to talk to journalists and find out about their grievances? Of course not. The visit was been kept secret from all but senior staff.

How you can help...

  • Visit the picket lines next Monday and Tuesday in Bradford, Keighley, Shipley, Ilkley, Otley, and Skipton. And on Wednesday and Thursday in Kendal, Lancaster, and Ulverston.
  • You could send a polite message to Newsquest UK chief executive Paul Davidson by email to pdavidson@london.newsquest.co.uk or by faxing to 020 8646 3997. Point out how damaging it is to the UK economy to send huge profits to the USA while paying low wages here.
  • Please send a message of support to Bradford at bradfordnuj@yahoo.co.uk and Kendal at justin.hawkins@kendal.newsquest.co.uk - it only takes a few seconds and makes a huge difference to morale.
  • The chapels URGENTLY need money to sustain the dispute. Please ask your union branch or chapel to send a donation. Why not organise a workplace collection. You don't have to be a union rep to start it and you could be pleasantly surprised by how many people donate. Point out that if the Bradford and Kendal chapels win it will mean that your management has to take your union more seriously - and just talking to people about the union strengthens your organisation. Send cheques and postal orders to "NUJ Manchester" at NUJ, 22, Swan Street, Manchetser, M4 5JQ. We will split the money between the chapels.
  • Ask for a speaker at your next union meeting by hitting reply or using the email addresses above.
  • Send this email on to anyone who might be interested.

Elsewhere on the web...

Visit www.nuj.org.uk or www.ifj.org or www.geocities.com/bradfordnuj

 
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