Bowdler returns NUJ cheque

By Sarah Lagan

Johnston
Press chief executive Tim Bowdler has returned a cheque for £275 sent
to him by the NUJ with a challenge for him to live on it for a week.

Cheques were sent to the bosses at the four biggest regional newspaper groups.

The union says the £275 equates to the weekly take home pay of newly qualified senior journalists at the companies.

In
a letter to the NUJ Bowdler stated: “It was an amusing stunt which will
undoubtedly attract the publicity which you seek. When we met three
weeks ago, you acknowledged the progress made by Johnston Press
companies in respect of journalists’ pay. You also expressed
appreciation at the willingness of Johnston Press to engage
constructively with the NUJ regarding ongoing concerns.

“Whilst
we appreciate your need for publicity, I am sure you will equally
appreciate that we have no intention of conducting that dialogue
through the pages of Press Gazette.”

The PA of Newsquest chief Paul Davidson returned the cheque with a one-line letter saying “please find enclosed the cheque”.

NUJ
general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Whilst Johnston Press has
recognised that the issue of low pay needs to be addressed we are
concerned that Newsquest appears not to wish to engage in meaningful
talks.”

Trinity Mirror sent its cheque to the Journalists’ Charity.

Northcliffe has not responded.

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