Pay squeeze anger

Journalists on national newspapers are furious at below inflation annual pay rises which are being viewed as pay cuts.

At
the Telegraph titles, editorial staff have reluctantly accepted an
offer of three per cent, but say they feel betrayed over promises made
when the Barclay brothers bought the papers in June.

Staff at The
Independent have unanimously rejected a three per cent pay offer which
they believe does not reflect their efforts in reviving the paper’s
fortunes with its tabloid relaunch.

Discussions are also
continuing at the Financial Times , where the offer is also three per
cent, and at the national Mirror titles, where the deal on the table is
2.5 per cent.

NUJ members at the Express titles are negotiating over an offer of 3.3 per cent.

According
to the Office for National Statistics the current retail price index
figure for inflation is 3.5 per cent and average earnings increases are
running at 4.4 per cent.

After the Telegraph group was bought by
the Barclays in June for £665m, NUJ representatives were promised a
meeting with Aidan Barclay, son of Sir David, who has been over-seeing
the running of the papers.

This was changed to the promise of a meeting with new chief executive Murdoch MacLennan, which has not yet materialised.

Telegraph
NUJ spokesman John Carey said: “The overwhelming feeling is people are
very unhappy about the three per cent and rather disillusioned.

“Over
the sale process, senior management continually said staff were the
company’s greatest asset and that we’d performed admirably under very
difficult circumstances.

We’ve been told this over and over again, and the profits remain very healthy.

But when it comes to the pay agreement we are told there isn’t the money there.

“Their
argument has been that they have had to pay a lot for this company and
they need to invest a lot more this year so they simply can’t afford to
pay more than three per cent.”

He said that staff voted in favour
of the deal because of the fact that management were “adamant” they
would not move on it and because of other concessions. These included
the extension of six weeks holiday to all editorial staff, two weeks
paternity leave on full pay and the increase of the minimum casual
shift rate to £113.30.

Telegraph management declined to comment.

Kate
Simon, NUJ Mother of Chapel at the Independent titles, said NUJ members
at the group had unanimously rejected their three per cent offer.

She
said: “This has been a really important year for The Independent in
terms of relaunching as a compact, and although the papers are not yet
in profit we are part of a profit-making global group.

“Chief
executive officer Ivon Fallon often points out to the press that we
contribute 1,200 stories a week to other papers in the global group.

“There’s
a real spirit of fortunes having turned at the papers because of the
circulation successes and there’s an expectation that the thanks and
appreciation that we’ve received verbally from management will turn
into something more tangible – like money in our pockets.”

According
to NUJ assistant organiser Don Mackglew pay deals in the regional press
are running at between 2.9 per cent and 3.1 per cent so far this year.
However, he said the pay year for most titles starts between April and
July.

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