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news


Al-Jazeera staff vote on nine per cent pay offer


As The Journalist went to press, staff at Al Jazeera’s English- language TV channel in London were preparing to vote on a pay offer brokered by the conciliation service Acas.


The nine per cent offer over


two years came as staff had been preparing to stage a one-day strike followed by indefinite action short of a strike.


The NUJ had said that the channel, which is funded by the Qatari government, has failed to honour an agreement to negotiate pay on an annual basis. Both members of the NUJ and Bectu, which represents technical staff, voted to take action. Following the strike the chapel had planned indefinite action involving taking statutory and contractual


meal breaks in full; not answering telephone calls, emails and message out of normal working hours and on days off work; and the withdrawal of goodwill. Al Jazeera English is based in Doha and has about 130 staff in London. The deal for 2018 is an


across-the board pay increase of six per cent backdated to 1 January and a consolidated


pay increase of 3 per cent for 2019. Members of the NUJ and Bectu will now vote to accept or reject the offer. The management’s offer


follows three years of negotiations and four years without a pay rise. The joint unions said they hoped the offer was proof that Al Jazeera will now take the collective bargaining process, and its relationship with the staff unions, seriously. Messages of support for the Al Jazeera staff have included other unions and the NUJ’s BBC Radio and Future Media Chapel, which said: “Solidarity and all good wishes to colleagues at Al Jazeera English from the NUJ’s BBC Radio and Future Media Chapel. You deserve a pay rise! Unless journalists are paid properly, there’ll be no such thing as press freedom.”


“ Journalists killed by Islamic State


Ten journalists were killed on one day in Afghanistan after the so-called Islamic State deliberately targeted journalists. Two suicide attacks hit


central Kabul on 30 April. The first bomb was exploded and the second was detonated 20 minutes later among those who had come to rescue and report on the atrocity. In the subsequent


attack the suicide bomber disguised himself as a journalist. Nine journalists were killed in Kabul out of 25 people who lost their lives. On the same day Ahmad


Shah from the BBC’s Afghan service was shot dead in Khost province. More than 1000 journalists have been killed worldwide over the past 15 years.


Chris, Charlie and Joyce are honoured


NUJ activists Chris Frost, Charlie Harkness and Joyce McMillan were made members of honour at last month’s delegate meeting in Southport. Chris is an emeritus professor at Liverpool John Moores


University and chair of the union’s ethics council. Charlie is a former deputy general secretary of the NUJ as


well as having had a long career in journalism and communications. Theatre critic and political commentator Joyce has been an


NUJ member since 1981. She has been chair and treasurer of Edinburgh freelance branch NUJ delegate meeting, pages 6-8


PAUL HERRMANN theJournalist | 03


WESTMORLAND GAZETTE HITS 200 The Westmorland Gazette is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a museum exhibition. The weekly newspaper covers the Lake District and Cumbria area since May 1818, and has a circulation of around 15,000 with more than 100,000 readers across print and online.


Solidarity and all good wishes to colleagues at Al Jazeera English from the NUJ’s BBC Radio and Future Media Chapel. You deserve a pay rise!


NUJ’s BBC Radio


TORRANCE HITS OUT AT ‘ONLINE BILE’ David Torrance, the Herald political columnist and Scottish freelance has left journalism, partly because of the rise of ‘online bile’ and ‘puerile’ political discourse. Torrance, who has been a journalist for 18 years, said political discourse had ‘narrowed’ following the 2011 Holyrood election, leading him to become a ‘hate figure’.


VANITY FAIR PUTS UP A PAYWALL Vanity Fair online has moved behind a paywall.Readers need a subscription to access all articles on the website, but can access four free articles per month. US editor Radhika Jones promised to deliver ‘agenda setting journalism’, and ‘in-depth reporting’’.


inbrief...


PRESS REVIEW CHAIR IS DAME FRANCES The Government has appointed Dame Frances Cairncross as chair of its review of press sustainability in the UK and has published its terms of reference. She is a former economic journalist, author and academic administrator.


UK STATIC IN PRESS FREEDOM INDEX Britain has stayed at number 40 out of 180 countries on the 2018 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders. It was named as one of the worst countries for press freedom in western Europe. When the index began in 2002 the UK was 22nd.


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