Nearly 40 per cent working overtime unpaid

The average pay of reporters in London has gone up by 3.35 per cent since 2000 with many working an average of 45 hours each week, according to a survey by the NUJ London Magazines Branch survey released this week.

Answered by 200 of the branch’s 2,000 members, the survey showed that while 56.6 per cent of respondents were contracted to work a 35-hour week, nearly 40 per cent worked up to 45 hours each week.

The overall average working week from the survey was 41.1 hours with editors, deputies and news editors working an average of nine unpaid hours a week.

Of the 200 journalists who took part, 20 worked their contracted 35-hour week, while another 20 worked in excess of 50 hours.

While freelance pay has risen in some areas it has fallen in others, the survey shows. Sub-editors typically earned £110.46 for a shift in 1999, £126.50 in 2005 and £135 in 2008 – though some employers were offering £120.

The lowest rate for freelance reporters was £100 per shift, with £200 the highest. The lowest word rate was £150 per thousand and the highest £400. The reporter with the lowest annual salary in the survey earned £18,000 a year, with the highest earning £39,000.

The majority of journalists in the survey 74.6 per cent had not received a company bonus, though those who did receive one were paid £1,275 on average.

Gordon Jamieson, branch treasurer of the NUJ London magazines branch, said that low pay meant that journalists in London were less likely to be loyal to one title and would move on to secure better wages.

Collectively, employers have made sure that they can’t hang on to their staff, he said.

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