Local journalists strike in York

Local newspaper journalists go on 5 day strike in York over below-inflation pay rises.

Submitted by Django on May 22, 2008

NUJ journalists at local newspapers The York Press and The Gazette and Herald of Malton have begun a 5-day walk-out over below inflation pay rises and continually worsening pay conditions. The strikers are demanding a 3.5% pay increase, in line with the offers made to journalists at other UK local newspapers owned by the same company, US media giant Gannet.

Both sides of the road outside the Walmgate offices are picketed, with a group of strikers canvassing for support in the city centre today being followed at a discrete distance by four police officers.

Workers on the pickets complain of the fact that US shareholders are currently "making a fortune" whilst their pay continually stagnates. Their daily strike paper, the York Stress points out that the business that owns the paper, Newsquest York, made an operating profit of £4.3 million last year, whilst the company's owners, Gannett, gave its shareholders an extra 18% in dividends in 2007. Gannet made a $1 billion dollar profit last year.

Both the workers and their strike paper complain of ever-worsening conditions and management belligerence:

Newsquest, a subsidiary of the massive American corporation Gannett - is refusing to budge beyond an offer of 3%. With inflation running at 4.2% this amounts to a real-terms pay cut of 1.2%, which is unacceptable to our members who have endured years of below-inflation pay rises. We have already lost out after the company announced pension scheme members would have to pay an extra 4% for the same benefits ...

last year, we suffered massive understaffing, meaning not only our members, but the quality of the paper suffered. The equation is always the same: more work for less pay ...

Newsquest is pleading poverty while raking in £4.3 million a year in York. That cash goes straight out of Yorkshire to satisfy Garnett's American shareholders who last year enjoyed $1 billion profits. How can this be fair when a graduate trainee at The Press, with a mountain of debt, is paid just £13,500 a year?

The most any non-management journalist at the company could ever hope to earn is £22,500 - even those with decades of experience cannot hope to break through this glass ceiling.

Whilst increasing workloads, contributing to already unsociable working hours, management has refused to move, even in the face of union concessions. A union offer to accept recommendations from arbitrators ACAS has been met with management silence.

The average wage in York is £30,000.



16 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on May 23, 2008

From Indymedia:

the average wage in york. . .

22.05.2008 21:51
. . . is certainly not £30,000

more like £15,000 or less - the only reason the larger figure gets pull out from time to time is because there is a sizable minority on high wages

York is a low pay city - and this will remain the case as the council has just cut wages on average by 20% for the low paid in it's recent pay review - the council is York's largest employer.

Solidarity to the striking journo's - I hope they are sympathetic to council employees in their reporting when Unison pulls us out in the summer. . . .


york anarchist


16 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on May 23, 2008

The £30,000 number seems largely fictional, the York Press themselves have written an article on it.

Regulars at the Hansom Cab in York were overcome with mirth at the suggestion the average York salary was £30,000.

"I don't know anybody in here that takes that sort of money!" said pub boss Brian Battye - stressing that that included him.

Regular Andy Fisher agreed. The former hotel assistant manager, who is now off work and claiming incapacity benefit, said there were obviously some people in York earning more than £30,000. "But they are definitely in a minority," he said.

Security officer Paul Smith was also disbelieving. "£600 a week? No way! If I earn £20,000 a year, I'm happy - and that's a good wage."

Retired RAF rate sergeant Kenneth Hardy did believe that the average salary in York could be near £30,000, however.

"There will be some people on £80,000, some on £50,000, some on £10,000," he said. "You only need a small minority on a high salary to raise the figure."

from http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/features/display.var.2242423.0.citywide_surprise_at_30k_average_wage_claim.php

It seems less likely that its a sizable minority of super rich than simply bad research.

THE average salary in York is just over £30,000, apparently.

Phew! Well that's all right then. We can all stop whinging about the high cost of food, petrol and housing.

Er, well not quite. Website allthetopbananas.com which came up with the figure admits £30,019 is just the average advertised salary in York. And because there are very few low-paid jobs advertised on the site, the figure may be a little high.

I took the sum from the strike paper on the assumption it was the former rather than the latter.