Newspaper pay disputes spread
The industrial problems that have hit our biggest media outlets have now spread to some of the country’s smallest newspapers.
Eight staff from the four newspapers in the APN-owned chain Capital Community Newspapers walked off the job at 3pm yesterday in support of a pay rise.
They work for papers like the Johnsonville’s Independent Herald, the Porirua City News, the Wainuiomata News and Petone’s Western News, and say that they are among the most poorly paid media workers in the country.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the workers were paid about 13 per cent less than workers on similar-sized newspapers.
“These people are seeking pay parity with other sites, plus a pay rise,” he said. “Their claim for a 17 per cent rise reflects that.”
Australian Provincial Newspapers (APN) is controlled by Irishman Sir Anthony O’Reilly, who bought the New Zealand Wilson and Horton newspaper chain in the 1990s.
Workers at four other New Zealand newspapers in the APN stable - Hawke’s Bay Today, the Wanganui Chronicle, the Levin Chronicle and the Wairarapa Times-Age – are also involved in pay disputes with their employer, as are staff at several Fairfax newspapers and at Radio New Zealand.
Mr Little said that pay rates in the media industry had fallen, and it should be no surprise to owners that their employees were seeking to make up lost ground, especially at a time when companies like APN were making record profits.