IFJ Support For Seaside Strikers Who Challenge Low Pay Culture in the UK

The International Federation of Journalists today gave its backing to a strike by journalists working for newspapers along the seaside coast of north west England who are calling for an end to the low pay culture that damages journalism in the United Kingdom.

Today, National Union of Journalists members at the Blackpool Evening Gazette, Fleetwood Weekly News, and Lytham St Anne's Express picketed outside their local offices over a new pay structure which would leave fully qualified senior journalists on the weekly papers on just over £16,000 - compared to a UK national average wage of nearly £26,000.

“Journalists working for local newspapers in the UK are paid poverty wages,” says Arne Konig, Chair of the European Federation of Journalists, “and their anger at employers who make rich profits at their expense and at the expenses of editorial quality is hardly surprising. We shall do everything we can to support their efforts for justice in the newsroom.”

The NUJ members are protesting over the fact that senior journalists on the daily paper earn just £17,600 per annum. Meanwhile, in 2002 the Blackpool papers made a profit of £2.9 million - a rise of 28 percent on 2001, which represents a profit of £15,000 per employee. Their parent company - Johnston Press - made record profits of £128 million pounds in 2003.

The IFJ is fully supporting the industrial action being taken by the members of its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland.

The chapels have named Tuesday June 22 as their second day for strike action.

Further information: + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries