York Press management express 'astonishment' at five-day strike action

The management at Newsquest‘s York Press has expressed its “astonishment” at the NUJ chapel decision to stage a five-day strike over a rejected three per cent pay offer next week.

In a statement today Newsquest York managing director Steve Hughes said: “The company believes its offer of 3 per cent across the board with an extra 0.5 per cent available for discretionary payments is looking increasingly attractive as the economic situation becomes ever more challenging.”

The NUJ criticised the paper for offering the extra half per cent, at the editors’ discretion, which they felt was given in return for participating in new media activity.

Hughes rejected the union’s “misleading” claim about staff turnout in the strike ballot and said that 22 from a possible 58 voted in favour of the walk-out.

He also accused the union of refusing a company offer of bringing in an ACAS official for mediation talks.

“We note that the NUJ representatives are urging Newsquest to return to the table for genuine and meaningful negotiations,” he said. “This is a bit rich when, after eight months of protracted talks, it was the NUJ who walked away by balloting for industrial action and rejecting the company’s offer of mediation through ACAS.

Hughes has written to all editorial staff asking them to accept the pay offer by Monday – after that it will be withdrawn.

“We cannot force anyone to accept a pay rise but, in taking this step, those who wish to take advantage of it will now be able to do so,” said Hughes.

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