Six-month Bradford pay row ends

Journalists at Newsquest Bradford have called off their long-running pay dispute in order to begin negotiations for next year’s pay deal.

After 47 days of strike action between January and June, NUJ members have voted to accept the original offer of a 2 per cent rise. The increase will be backdated to January. Both sides have agreed not to comment further than two statements.

Father of the NUJ chapel Bob Smith said: “The dispute is over without being settled. Both sides have agreed not to agree and we will now start looking ahead with the company to 2004 and 2005.”

The Newsquest statement said: “A line has been drawn under the NUJ’s dispute at Newsquest Bradford over its editorial pay proposals for 2003. “Both parties have agreed to commence negotiations with regard to the company’s pay offer for 2004.”

The Bradford pay dispute involved around half of the 99 journalists employed on the Telegraph & Argus, Keighley News, Craven Herald, Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale & Airedale Observer.

The management offered a revised deal of a 2 per cent increase along with discretionary one-off payments of £400. Under the new agreement journalists will just get the original 2 per cent rise.

Current minimum pay scales at Bradford are £17,100 for senior journalists on the daily title and £15,000 for seniors on the weeklies. Trainee reporters start on £12,000.

The Bradford NUJ chapel is expected to put in a pay claim for next January’s increase in the next week or so.

By Dominic Ponsford

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