Guardian revised pay offer includes £30k basic salary

Journalists at The Guardian and The Observer have been offered a 4.8 per cent pay rise and a minimum salary of £30,000 as part of deal intended by management to pave the way for 24/7 online publishing.

The offer also includes a two-year pay deal which would see staff pocket a rise equivalent to the retail price index in March 2009. The deal includes an increase for casuals.

A new pay audit will take place as soon as the two papers move to their purpose-built offices in London’s King’s Cross next year.

The Guardian NUJ chapel newsletter said: ‘Even management does not have a clear idea of how such far-reaching changes will work out. There will be plenty of opportunities for glitches and disputes.”

According to the newsletter, the original management offer included five extra working hours for journalists with no extra pay and the abolition of a no-compulsory redundancy clause in staff contracts.

But after more than 70 hours of talks between management and the NUJ via conciliation service Acas, the Guardian News and Media offer has omitted these clauses.

Journalists’ working weeks will be 35 or 40 hours. Under the proposed deal, those who work weekends, including Guardian Unlimited staff, will work a nine-day fortnight, and sections of the paper that have nine-day fortnights will be expected to work weekends.

Guardian management is looking for 140 volunteers over the next year to work five-day weeks – in return for an additional five per cent pay.

If the offer is accepted, journalists would agree to an expanded ‘flexibility clause’which states: ‘All journalists [are] to be available to work across different media within all GNM editorial departments as assigned by their editors. The integrity and independence of The Observer and The Guardian will be guaranteed by the deployment of sufficient dedicated staff and other resources.”

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, also a board member of the paper’s owner, the Scott Trust, said in a memo to staff earlier this year he wanted journalists to publish online news ‘around the clock across seven days’and ‘expected journalists across The Guardian, Guardian Unlimited and The Observer to work according to these principles”.

Guardian journalists were due to vote on the deal at a chapel meeting on Thursday, with Observer journalists due to decide on Friday.

One union source said this week that they expected the deal to be accepted ‘overwhelmingly’by staff.

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