Argus strike crop
Staff at the Brighton Argus and Southern Daily Echo have been made a 2 per cent pay offer by owner Newsquest following recent strikes at the titles, according to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

A member of staff at the Brighton Argus told today that the offer has been made but not yet accepted by union members at the newspaper.

NUJ members at the Echo last night hailed the recent strikes – staged in protest against at an ongoing pay freeze – as "a success".

Echo editor Ian Murray today denied that the pay offer was related to industrial action or that management had ruled out a pay rise:

"To claim that industrial action in any way prompted the pay increase is wrong. At no point was a pay rise in 2011 ever ruled out.

"Management were sorry, that even after being informed that the meetings would take place on 7 January and then in fact agreeing to attend a meeting diaried at their request on January 11, the NUJ decided to announce the strike action taken during last week.

"It was ironic indeed that while staff were being informed of the pay increase at the pre-publicised meeting, NUJ members were not present because of strike action being taken over the very issue that was being discussed."

Murray told in November that the pay freeze in place at the time would not be a matter for negotiation during talks with staff.

According to the NUJ, the pay rise was announced across the board on Friday, on the third day of strike action by members at the paper last week, and will be effective from 1 July.

The union said today that the priority now is to get individual banding payments (previously agreed minimums) reinstated. reported at the end of last year that a two per cent pay increase had been offered at some Newsquest centres, including Bradford, York and Darlington.

More to follow.

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