South Yorks dispute over after talks offer

NUJ members at South Yorkshire Newspapers have ended their pay dispute after taking up an offer of talks at a national level with parent company Johnston Press.

Members held 13 days of strike action between 12 July and 2 August, combined with a work to rule from 10 July, after pay negotiations broke down in June.

Chapel members voted to accept a 2006 pay rise of 2.75 per cent, backdated to April 1, and return to work as normal while talks continue between NUJ representatives and Johnston Press.

NUJ mother of chapel Emma Roots said: "Strike action was a last resort after nine months of meetings in which local management at South Yorkshire Newspapers seemed unable to grasp the depth of frustration over low pay levels. We believe we have now made our point and look forward to some more constructive negotiations over next year's pay award."

Papers within the SYN group include the Doncaster Free Press, Doncaster Advertiser, South Yorkshire Times, Epworth Bells, Goole Courier, Gainsborough Standard and the Community Newsletter.

Meanwhile, NUJ members at the Newsquest–owned Bolton Evening News have set dates for industrial action in protest at new shift patterns brought in after the newspaper's move to morning publication.

From 4 September until further notice, journalists will boycott the later shift patterns that force some journalists to work until midnight.

David Thomson, NUJ father of chapel, said: "We feel that to move the Bolton Evening News to a daily [morning] paper, and bring in a new shift system with anti-social hours, is unfair because it is something that staff didn't sign up to when they joined the paper.

"We feel we have to take action because of the terrible knock-on effect this is having on people's social and family lives."

Thomson said the £10 payments offered to staff working beyond 9pm were "totally inadequate" and that journalists were asking for twice this amount, or for extra payments to be consolidated into a salary increase.

NUJ chapel members voted 74.4 per cent in favour of strike action earlier this month after new shift patterns were imposed in June.

Press Gazette reported last week that the BEN is likely to change its name to the Bolton Daily News in September to reflect the change to morning publication.

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