Recognition drive for PA journalists

Some
£10,000 has been voted by the NUJ to go towards starting a national
campaign to gain official recognition at the “strike-breaking” Press
Association.

Assistant organiser Jenny Lennox said that while
some trainees at PA’s offices in Howden, Yorkshire, earn £11,000, PA
chief executive Paul Potts received a 67 per cent pay rise to £418,000
last year.

She said: “The PA offices at Howden, down the road
from here, employs the vast majority of PA journalists and has people
working on national and regional newspapers across the country.

“I’ve
spoken to people there who were firemen, who worked in cake factories
and who used to sell cars. The only qualification is that they have a
GCSE or equivalent pass in English and they are subbing national and
regional newspapers.”

Lennox added: “PA is operating out at
Howden a strike-breaking operation – when copy doesn’t come from
journalists on the ground it comes from PA.

“All they have to do
is get a copy of the layout down the wire, then the paper comes out the
following day equally thick with equally as many stories, probably not
local, but people still buy it.”

Bob Smith, from Bradford Telegraph and Argus, said: “It’s a crucial issue that we bring the PA family into the NUJ.

Let’s put a stop to using these people as cheap labour undercutting our efforts to raise the standard of journalism.”

Meanwhile,
the meeting heard that staff at the Scarborough Evening News are on
their way to gaining official NUJ recognition with union membership now
standing at around 70 per cent of editorial staff.

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