Newsquest staff at Bradford vote for more strikes

Journalists at Newsquest Bradford have voted to go back on strike but have yet to set a date. Some 75 per cent of NUJ members at the company have voted in favour of continuing what has become UK journalism’s longest strike for more than a decade.

So far there have been 47 days of strike action at the Bradford titles since January, involving up to half of the 99 journalists employed there. The newspapers affected include the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Keighley News, Craven Herald, Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale & Airedale Observer.

The dispute centres around this year’s pay offer of a 2 per cent increase across the board along with discretionary one-off payments of £400.

Current minimum pay scales at Newsquest Bradford are £17,100 for senior journalists on the Telegraph & Argus and £15,000 for senior journalists on the weekly titles. Trainee reporters on the weekly titles start on £12,000.

NUJ north of England organiser Miles Barter said: “We have written to management to say we are keen to have talks to resolve the dispute and we have reiterated the offer of going to binding arbitration.

“It’s not as if it is a few union trouble makers but a substantial number of their workers. Members think the company makes lots of money and can afford to pay them more.”

Newsquest Bradford managing director David Coates said: “We are disappointed that some NUJ members have decided to vote again for strike action.

“There are 99 editorial positions covered by the bargaining unit and 31 journalists have voted for more strikes. The rest, more than two thirds, are wondering why they still have to wait for a pay increase they were due to receive on 1 January.

“Strike action has not affected the publication of any of our titles and is even more futile now. We would prefer to talk to the NUJ about our current pay offer, which is fair and reasonable and follows what the NUJ described as a generous settlement last year.”

by Dominic Ponsford

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