Newsquest strikes on hold as talks resume

The NUJ has suspended threatened strikes at two Newsquest regional newspaper centres pending fresh pay talks with management.

Talks were due to take place at Newsquest Bradford on Thursday afternoon, leading to the NUJ chapel calling off a two-day strike planned for this week. Journalists at Newsquest Kendal also postponed strike action after management increased its pay offer to 2.5 per cent.

The union has drawn up new provisional strike dates if the talks fail. The Newsquest Bradford NUJ chapel has called a five-day strike from 17 February and the Newsquest Kendal NUJ chapel a four-day strike from 17 to 20 February.

Management at Newsquest Kendal said its increased pay offer followed a decision that a journalist vacancy should remain unfilled. The company also said it would explore the possibility of introducing a new pay structure. The union is seeking a 9.5 per cent rise.

Newspapers produced by the company include the Westmorland Gazette, the Lancaster & Morecambe Citizen and the South Lakes Citizen.

At Bradford, the management pay offer is 2 per cent and the union is seeking a £1,500 rise. Newsquest management says the union’s pay claims are “unrealistic” in the current economic climate.

NUJ northern regional organiser Miles Barter said: “We are very keen to talk to management and solve the disputes without further strikes.”

By Jon Slattery

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