UK: IFJ backs strike threat amid cost-of-living crisis

Hundreds of journalists at the UK’s largest national and regional news publisher are to strike for four days to demand a fair pay increase after bosses offered a below inflation rise in negotiations with IFJ-affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). The IFJ has backed the workers’ demands and called on Reach PLC to negotiate, and recognize the impact of high inflation rates, in the face of a 79% vote for strike action. Around 1000 journalists are expected to join the action.

NUJ members protesting for improved pay. Credit: NUJ

NUJ members across Reach titles will strike on 26 and 31 August and 14-15 September, with a “work to rule” taking place between 1 and 13 September.

Reach PLC is the largest national and regional news publisher in the UK. Its titles include national publications such as the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Sunday People, Daily Record, Daily Star, and market leading regional titles including the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail and Bristol Post.

Chris Morley, NUJ Reach national coordinator, said: “Our members have delivered a powerful message to Reach chiefs with the results of this landmark ballot.  It is unprecedented in the company’s history that more than 1,000 of its journalists have been mandated to take strike action and other industrial action.

 “With this result, our members are clearly saying that the company – which gave its top two executives pay packages worth more than £7m – can, and must, do much better than a meagre 3%/£750 minimum increase on already inadequate pay.  

“The NUJ is ready and willing to achieve a negotiated settlement. But for that to happen, the company will need to understand that our members are prepared to stand up and be counted and are not willing to merely accept the crumbs off the millionaires’ table.  

 “Our members earn very modest pay for the vital - but stressful - part they play in keeping the public informed around the clock. They know that a company that can make a £14m half-year dividend payment to shareholders next month can do more to make its journalists’ salaries more competitive.”   

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “At a time when prices are rising so fast and journalists are struggling, for the company to reward its shareholders instead of its staff is crass. Reach managers should get back to the negotiating table, make a fair offer and clear the way for journalists to carry on with their excellent work of keeping the public informed”.

  • ·Journalists working on titles including The Scotsman, Daily Record and Sunday Mail, will strike on 26 August and 2 September. National World NUJ members voted for industrial action after the company threatened compulsory redundancies.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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