Johnston Press has backed down over plans to reduce the expenses rate for private car mileage from 45p to 25p a mile in the face of a threatened revolt from journalists.
According to the National Union of Journalists, members protested by refusing to use their own cars for work.
The rate will now remain at 45p, but only for the first 2,000 miles. Journalists are to be encouraged to use office pool cars where they can.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “I would like to congratulate the group chapel for standing up against this ill-thought out move, a measure clearly thought up by beancounters with no idea about how local newsrooms operate.
“I am pleased that Johnston Press has listened and backed down on a proposal that would have had serious consequences for reporters and photographers. This change of heart by the management shows the strength of collective action by NUJ members and chapel reps will continue to work to get proper rates reinstated for claims beyond 2,000 miles.”
NUJ national organiser Laura Davison said: “We are pleased with that the management has backtracked, however, my concern is that high mileage users, such as photographers who incur high mileage will be penalised by the new rate structure and this is unfair.”
The Johnston Press NUJ group chapel had said: “The reduction in mileage rates will have a heavy impact on our members, particularly photographers, sports reporters and staff who have no longer have an office. It not only wipes out any minimal pay rises staff have received in recent years, but will also prevent them doing their jobs properly. Reps have told us there are no pool cars available at their offices or that it costs more to get a bus from their new out-of-town office into the centre than it would to drive and claim 45p per mile. It brings the whole idea that this is a justifiable cost-saving measure into question.”