The NUJ has put out a special Christmas newsletter to its members employed by Newsquest with an illustration by Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell depicting the regional newspaper publisher as 'Scroogequest'.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, writes in the newsletter: "It’s certainly been an eventful time for NUJ members throughout Newsquest – where festive cheer has been thin on the ground for some years now.
"The impact of a 3-year pay freeze, attacks on pensions and relentless job cuts have well and truly made their mark. Following the scandalous September anniversary when most staff worked their 1000th day without a pay rise, we have seen chapel after chapel say enough is enough.
"Pay claims of between 5 and 8 per cent were lodged around the UK. As the group continues to rake in the money, sticking to the line of difficult economic times simply cuts no ice. Newsquest continues to make huge profits for their American owners – operating profit for Gannett UK was £71.7million for 2009 compared to a loss of £462,000 in 2008.
"And it’s not as if pay restraint in these austere times has been shared in the boardroom where the bosses continue to make whoopee…The highest paid director – understood to be chief executive Paul Davidson – got a whopping 21.5per cent pay rise last year, taking his salary to £609,235."
She adds: "With the intention of raising some Christmas cheer we asked Steve Bell, cartoonist at The Guardian, to channel his inner-Gannett and come up with a special Newsquest Christmas message.”
- According to HoldtheFrontPage, the Newsquest pay freeze could be thawing. It reports: "The nationwide pay freeze across Newsquest titles which has been in place since July 2008 has finally been lifted, HTFP can reveal today. Newsquest's US owners Gannett gave their approval last week for 2pc pay offers to be made to journalists at a number of UK centres, company insiders have confirmed."