The National Union of Journalists is reporting a “marked increase” in the number of enquiries about joining, as a result of proposed changes in pay and hours at Dundee-based newspaper and magazine publishers, DC Thomson.
According to the publisher's Rewards Project – part of a 'modernisation programme' that the company has been engaged in for two years – some staff are being overpaid, while others are being underpaid. In an attempt to equalise pay, those whose salary is below a perceived minimum have, since the start of last month, seen their pay increase.
But according to documentation seen by allmediascotland.com, some 22 per cent of staff fall into the category considered to be receiving more than the perceived maximum. Those staff face having their pay being frozen for up to three years and then possibly reduced.
As it is, there is a general pay freeze lasting throughout this year.
And as well as trying to equalise pay, the company is also believed to be seeking to equalise hours, which will mean an increase per week for some members of staff.
Tonight, the Dundee branch of the NUJ is meeting to discuss the Rewards Project. In a publicity flyer, it says:
“Dundee-based publishers DC Thomsons are offering a hat trick of generous rewards for hard-working, dedicated journalists: • a rise…….of two and a half hours in their working week, or • a 10% pay cut, and • a pay freeze.”
As an indication of the strength of feeling among staff at DC Thomson, it is the first meeting of the Dundee branch of the NUJ for over a year.
Says Scottish Organiser of the NUJ, Paul Holleran: “Since the company announced its plans to equalise pay and hours – which for many staff could mean less pay and more hours – there has been a marked increase in interest in joining the NUJ. We have had people enquiring about joining and also people actually joining.”
Tonight will also see Life Memberships of the NUJ being conferred on former BBC Scotland reporter, Alan Grant, and former Perthshire Advertiser journalist, Les Stewart.
Update, following the meeting, from acting assistant organiser at NUJ Scotland, Fiona Davidson: “Over 60 journalists turned up at a meeting of the Dundee branch of the National Union of Journalists last night (Thursday). It was the first meeting of the Dundee branch in over a year.
“Proposed pay cuts and an increase in the working week by Dundee-based newspaper and magazine publishers DC Thomson & Co Ltd figured high on the agenda and another meeting is being arranged for next week.
“Management at DC Thomson is seeking to impose an increase in the working week for many journalists with no pay rise, and a possible reduction in pay for some 22 per cent of staff the company consider is earning too much.
“NUJ Scottish Organiser Paul Holleran said: ‘The outstanding turnout at last night’s meeting demonstrates the mood of the journalists and their views of the company’s proposals. The NUJ is organising a series of follow-up meetings with the journalists who work at all the titles published by DC Thomson over the next few weeks to assist and support them in every way we possibly can.’”