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NUJ MEMBERS at Greater Manchester Weekly Newspapers (North) have voted to strike for six days over low pay and union recognition. How low? No journalist below a deputy editor, however experienced, earns more than the average starting salary for graduates in catering - that is, burger-flipping...

The strikes are due to happen on 16, 17, 23, 24 and 30 April and 1 May There will be picket lines outside the offices of the Rochdale Observer, Asian News, Middleton Guardian, Heywood Advertiser, Rossendale Free Press, Accrington Observer, Oldham Advertiser, and Salford Advertiser.

The chapel would obviously appreciate it if any freelances asked to cover at these titles were unavailable. Any freelances who suffer hardship while being unavailable should get in touch and we'll see what can be done.

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On the current pay scales trainee journalists at the company start on as little as £10,486 per annum. The maximum anyone below a deputy editor can earn is £17,692.

GMWN is owned by the Guardian Media Group. According to research published in the Guardian in June 2001, the average starting salary for graduates in the traditionally low-paid retail and catering sectors is £17,000. The chapel asked for a 7.5 percent rise to help catch up with other industries. The last management offer was 2.5 per cent. After all the NUJ members voted to reject an offer and take action if necessary, GMWN refused to talk - de-recognising the union.

In the year to 1 April 2001 Greater Manchester Newspapers - the division of the Guardian Media Group involved - made an after-tax profit of £12.4 million.

Last modified: 12 April 2002 - © 2002 contributors
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