Management at Ananova have agreed to meet NUJ officials to discuss union recognition.
The Leeds-based operation, owned by Orange, would be the UK’s first standalone internet news service to have a recognition agreement.
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NUJ north of England organiser Miles Barter said there were around 50 journalists at Ananova who would be covered by a potential agreement. But he said the company was disputing who to include in any bargaining unit.
He said: “France Telecom is the parent company of Ananova and in France unions have an automatic right to recognition. We obviously hope and trust France Telecom will accord UK workers the same rights as its workers in the home country.
“The main issue at Ananova is changes to working practices, which potentially could mean changes to people’s contracts. Some people feel the nature of the work they are doing is changing all the time – people want to ensure that as the work changes the company sticks to the agreed contract of employment.”
An Orange spokesman confirmed it had been contacted by the NUJ about recognition at its Leeds office.
“We have considered our position carefully and have advised the NUJ that we are prepared to discuss the matter further with them if they wish to do so,” he said
In addition to running a news website, Ananova provides various mobile phone-based news services.