• Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Journalists at The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News join nationwide strike

ByNicholas Malizia

Oct 5, 2023
A circular blue sign containing the words Edinburgh Evening News

Journalists at newspapers across the UK and Ireland have taken to the picket line three times in September in hopes of better pay. 

After winning a ballot for industrial action across the UK, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) held three strike days on September 18, 22, and 25.

Strikers are protesting low pay, understaffing, stress at work, large workloads, and lack of confidence in leadership. 

The NUJ has made clear that the strikes are directed at National World, rather than at local Scottish paper editors.

National World is a multimedia company that owns over 100 UK newspapers, including The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, The Yorkshire Post, and The Sheffield Star

National World obtained such titles as The Scotsman in a 2020 acquisition of JPI Media, JPI was bought for only £10 mil, signaling to some that regional papers are losing value. 

In a comment to The Student, Nick McGowan-Lowe, the NUJ National Organizer for Scotland, said: 

“Our members at The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and the Scottish weekly titles only strike as a last resort – but years of below-inflation pay rises, increasing workload, and reduced staffing at National World have driven our members to this. 

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“It’s time that National World management sit down with the National Union of Journalists and negotiate a fair settlement for our members, instead of just choosing to send those profits to shareholders.”

In recent years, National World has cut its workforce by 27 per cent with staff numbers declining from 1,500 in January, 2021 to 1,100 in 2022.  

Strikers are calling for National World to sit down and negotiate a pay deal that recognizes the value and skill of its journalists. 

They say that this is especially vital for entry-level journalists. 

Newly qualified NCTJ graduates make on average £22,500 in the first six months, rising to £27,500 after three years. 

This in contrast to the average UK salary, which is about £33,000 per year according to the latest ONS.

The NUJ takes a particular stance against National World executive David Montgomery, who earned £205,000 in salary last year.

He was also awarded four million company shares worth £22,000, more than the annual earnings for many trainee reporters. 

Montgomery, a former sub-editor at The Daily Mirror and The Sun, has invested in media companies for the past two decades. 

In July, NUJ members at National World passed a no confidence vote in Montgomery. 

The NUJ encourages members of the public to ask their MSP or MP to put pressure on National World to negotiate with journalists. 

Messages of support for NUJ members can be sent to campaigns@nuj.org.uk

Edinburgh Evening News” by Mark Morgan Trinidad B is licensed under CC BY 2.0.