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Essex County Newspapers NUJ members in dispute with Newsquest over 'single pay anniversary' plans


By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 17, 2012 | 2 min read

National Union of Journalist members working at Essex County Newspapers are to take action tomorrow following a dispute over payment negotiations with publisher Newsquest.

According to the NUJ, an hour-long mandatory chapel meeting will take place tomorrow in protest to what it claims is Newsquest’s failure to negotiate payment, with the introduction of a ‘single pay anniversary’ planned, which will mean that some members of staff will not see a wage increase until June 2013.

NUJ members have voted for strike action and action that stops short of striking, with the Union stating that it is still committed to talks with management.

Members don’t want to take action but feel they have been left with little choice as their pay packets continue to shrink compared to the cost of living,” commented Will Lodge, father of the Colchester Chapel.

“Communication with management is on-going and we hope to avoid strike action.

“The chapel meeting discussions tomorrow will be about our next steps and is not intended to be disruptive.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, added: "The action in Essex is taking place as journalists at Newsquest centres around the country are hearing the news that their pay will be frozen, with reviews carried out later in the year. If no pay awards are made in 2012 it will be the third year in four that Newsquest journalists’ salaries have stood still. While thousands of staff were forced into the second year of a pay freeze in 2009, company accounts show that the pay of the firm’s chief executive Paul Davidson rose by 21.5% to £609,000.

"Hard working journalists at Newsquest have suffered years of cuts whilst the company continues to pay out millions to senior executive staff. The union continues to support journalists who stand up against the harsh and unjust pay regime at Newsquest."

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