By Vicki Morris
Newsquest Bradford managers are becoming increasingly isolated in their stand-off with their workers. Managing director David Coates and his group editor Perry Austin-Clarke have been told by government minster Chris Leslie they should pay their journalists more. Elsewhere in the Newsquest empire, NUJ members are being offered deals considerably better than the miserly two percent on the table at Bradford.
Government minister Chris Leslie told Newsquest Bradford bosses to improve their offer. He wrote to managing director David Coates: "I am concerned that there is an ongoing dispute between the company and the NUJ in Bradford and I have been informed that a below-RPI offer of twopercent has been rejected by the union.
"I am aware that the Telegraph & Argus is a successful newspaper and is part of a very profitable media group, so I am somewhat at a loss to understand why this offer cannot be improved given the need to avoid further strike action and also to address the relatively low rates of pay in Bradford. I hope you will give full consideration to improving the offer that has been made so this current dispute can be settled as soon as possible."
Managers at Newsquest centres in Kendal, Stourbridge and Surrey have all offered their staff better pay deals, which leaves the macho Bradford management team looking even more Scrooge-like. 41 members of parliament have also condemned Coates and Austin-Clarke.
NUJ members at this West Yorkshire arm of US media giant Gannett are due to begin their next 12 days of strike action on Wednesday 16 April after they voted massively to continue their action.
In a postal ballot run by the Electoral Reform Society, NUJ chapel members at Newsquest Bradford voted 91.5% in favour of going on strike again, with nearly 96% voting for action short of a strike.
The chapel is asking for a pay rise of £1,500 per year each - which would still leave most of them well below the UK average wage of £24,000.
Please make donations to the strike fund to "Newsquest Bradford NUJ chapel" and send to NUJ, Fifth Floor, Arthur House, Chorlton Street, Manchester, M1 3FH.