Emap staff protest as board snubs NUJ bid

Emap staff demonstrate after the rejection

Journalists at Emap Healthcare and on the public sector management titles, based at Greater London House, staged a protest last week after their attempts to reach a voluntary agreement on NUJ recognition were rejected by the board.

They now intend to take their application for union recognition to the Central Arbitration Committee, which could impose an agreement on Emap.

The decision was taken after a unanimous vote by the NUJ chapel on Friday. NUJ members also voted to withdraw from the staff council.

The move follows widespread disappointment among the journalists when Emap management failed to sign an agreement at a board meeting last week. NUJ representatives have been in lengthy talks with Chris Derby, managing director of Emap Healthcare, since June.

An NUJ member said: "The next stage is to put the claim in. We decided we would submit an application for recognition to the Central Arbitration Committee for the security of our rights. We have done the negotiations and made an agreement which has effectively been torn up and thrown back in our face.

"People are very angry. We have done our best to try and seek a voluntary agreement and this is the company’s response. We will get our rights. We’re very confident."

Derby offered to meet two union representatives on Friday in what is believed to be an attempt to try and achieve a negotiated settlement.

But the move prompted further frustration among staff members who wanted him to address the chapel as a whole.

Mike Sherrington, NUJ magazine organiser, said: "I do believe voluntary agreements are best but the chapel feels very much let down, so it is going to be quite a difficult thing to achieve. If we can come up with a voluntary agreement we can still stop the process," he added.

The arbitration process could take another three or four months. It is understood journalists at Emap Esprit have also called off negotiations in the wake of the board meeting. Nicky Brown, publishing director and currently acting managing director of Emap Esprit, would not comment this week except to say "discussions were on-going".

Emap staff and union members have been denied any form of official recognition since the mid Nineties.

By Ruth Addicott

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