Strikers hit out at Trinity 'hypocrisy'

By Sarah Lagan

The NUJ and strikers at Coventry Newspapers have accused Trinity
Mirror of “blatant and shamefaced hypocrisy” after the Coventry Evening
Telegraph published a number of stories highlighting low regional pay
rates.

The stories related to a survey carried out by the GMB Union and –
according to the NUJ – in virtually every case they were written by
journalists earning less than the average wage for their region.

Talks
between Trinity and journalists to try to resolve the pay dispute,
which has resulted in an indefinite strike, were held in “cordial
spirit” last Thursday, but no new offer was made by management.

The 43 striking journalists are surviving on payments from a hardship fund. A protest rally is planned in Coventry today.

A
Coventry Newspapers spokesman said: “The company and the NUJ are not
that far apart in our thinking, but a resolution has yet to be reached.

“The
introduction of the pay-for-competence structure will address the issue
of pay in Coventry and we have urged union members to return to work so
this can be progressed.

“To aid negotiations, we suggested a
compromise last week regarding the timing of the new system, but this
was rejected by the union.

“We continue to make constructive
approaches to the NUJ and are happy to meet with Jeremy Dear or his
representatives at any time to talk about potential solutions.”

Trinity
Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey will not be meeting the NUJ chapel to
try to resolve the industrial dispute at Coventry Newspapers, as
reported in Press Gazette last week.

Trinity said: “Sly Bailey
had responded to a letter sent by NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear,
and as a consequence, regional HR director Alan Fitzgerald arranged to
meet with Coventry MoC Barbara Goulden and Chris Morley, vice-president
of the NUJ.”

● Sixty-five journalists at Johnston’s Sheffield
Newspapers began action short of a strike over staffing levels and
workloads on Tuesday in the form of daily walkouts.

The action
kicked off with a 10-minute break at 10am, followed by breaks at
12.30pm and 3pm, and journalists left the office on time. Talks
continue on a local union level.

The NUJ has called a day of action on 16 August in Northcliffe Newspapers offices to protest against planned cuts of £20m.

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