Guardian and Telegraph staff in disputes over pay

Two national newspaper operations were locked in industrial disputes this week.

As Telegraph Media Group journalists go to arbitration over their pay claim, Guardian journalists met with management in a dispute over pay and web integration.

Telegraph management has set a date for a hearing with the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to resolve their dispute if an agreement has not been reached..

The Telegraph NUJ chapel, which represents both the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, has put in a 7.5 per cent pay claim, including a minimum pay rise of £2,500 for the lowest-paid staff.

The chapel has also lodged an official complaint with the CAC over the company’s pay deal of three per cent last year – which the NUJ said was imposed on staff without negotiation, contrary to the NUJ house agreement.

NUJ national newspapers organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said: ‘We want negotiation about the pay review and expect the company to comply with the agreement of collective bargaining.”

The company paid a one-off bonus of £500 to all staff involved in the move to a multimedia newsroom in Victoria last year, but 54 staff were made redundant as part of the move.

TMG declined to comment.

NUJ members from The Guardian met with the paper’s management on Tuesday in an attempt to avert industrial action over proposed changes to working conditions and an pay offer of 4.8 per cent.

Another meeting with senior executives was expected on Thursday at the paper’s Farringdon Road offices. They will meet with conciliation service ACAS next Tuesday if a deal cannot be agreed, and the union has not ruled out strike action in future.

Fitzpatrick said ‘some progress’was made at the Guardian talks.

He said: ‘We are hoping that what we achieve at The Guardian might offer a solution elsewhere for people looking to arrange a transition [to new media]. If talks continue to progress we may not need to go to ACAS.”

The Guardian chapel officially began the dispute last week after passing a motion condemning plans to scrap the current nine-day working fortnight. Staff on the paper’s website, Guardian Unlimited, currently work five days a week. There are concerns among journalists that management intends to introduce a compulsory redundancy clause into journalists’ contracts.

Press Gazette understands that, under new plans, the current 35-hour working week would be extended to 40. The NUJ chapel’s motion called the situation ‘the most serious attack on our conditions of employment in a generation”.

A Guardian spokesman said: ‘The second stage of the dispute procedure, involving a meeting with national officers, was extremely useful and constructive. We are meeting again on Thursday and hope that these talks will be equally productive.”

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