News Corp.'s Guardian newspaper signs pay agreement with National Union of Journalists, to grant journalists 3% pay raise for each year 2011, 2012

LONDON , February 17, 2012 (press release) – A pay deal has been agreed between the Guardian and NUJ which will give journalists a 3 per cent rise for each year 2011 and 2012.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “I am pleased that we have reached an agreement after what has been, at times, hard and difficult negotiations. This agreement, covering 2011-2013 will give us the stability to enable us to continue discussions over a range of other issues at the Guardian.”

The NUJ and Guardian have been in negotiations over changes to members’ roles and titles as the paper has moved towards a new model of journalism, embracing the expansion of web-based and digital coverage, as well as the printed product. The Guardian is also looking to reduce its headcount in the near future.

Barry Fitzpatrick said: “The roles of journalists are changing as new technology has radically changed the industry and the way our members’ work. We need to address the rapid pace of change and ensure that journalists’ skills are recognised and remunerated. The test is to ensure that the new roles and working practices also ensure high quality journalism. We are aware that the Guardian is looking to make savings and that is why we need to keep on talking.”

A statement on the latest results for Guardian Media Group, in August 2011, said: “Following savings of £26.8 million, from restructuring in the previous year, revenue declined from £221.0 million to £198.2 million. While display advertising revenues were resilient, the Guardian saw a sharp decline in recruitment advertising as a result of the difficult economic environment and unprecedented cuts to public sector spending. Digital revenues were robust, but did not offset the decline in print revenues… GNM was able to limit its operating loss before exceptional items to £38.3 million (2010, £37.8 million), despite the decline in revenues”.

The NUJ has welcomed the Guardian’s editor-in-chief’s decision to reduce his pay and benefits. Earlier this month, it was announced that Alan Rusbridger would take a 10 per cent pay cut; his salary for 2012-2013 will be £395,010 compared with £438,900 in the current financial year. His annual pension contribution will be reduced to £75,000 and the total reduction in his salary and pension package will amount to 19 per cent in the next year starting in April. The NUJ has called for Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, and Richard Desmond, owner of the Express newspapers, to follow suit.

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