Wednesday 17 November 2010

Blackburn latest Newsquest centre in action vote

The NUJ chapel at Newsquest's Blackburn centre is the latest within the company to have unanimously voted to ballot for industrial over the 2-year pay freeze and what the union says is the management's failure to commit to pay talks for 2011.

Newsquest has already had a strike at Southampton and is facing action by journalists on the pay issue in Brighton and in the Northeast.

The NUJ said today: "Staff are angry at management's assertion that it's been a 'challenging time economically for the company' when enlightening trading figures seem to suggest otherwise. Newsquest North West results to December 2009 clearly show a £7.29 million pre-tax operating profit, hardly the sign of a company in dire financial straits, struggling to break even.

"Figures for the same period show that Gannett UK returned an operating profit of £71.7 million. Additionally, like Newsquest journalists all over the UK, staff were shocked to discover that the highest paid director (probably Paul Davidson) saw his overall pay package rise by 21.5 per cent up to £609,235 in 2009. The unanimous opinion among Blackburn chapel members was that these facts totally devalue and undermine any company argument that they cannot afford a pay rise for staff."

The NUJ says staff are prepared to put plans for industrial action on hold, should management agree to lift the pay freeze and enter into negotiations with the chapel towards a pay rise for 2011.

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