Holmes election provokes union protest over ballot

Chris Holmes, design director at Times Supplements, has been elected unopposed to the post of general secretary of the News International Staff Association (NISA).

But his appointment has provoked claims that many staff at News International had no knowledge of the nominations because they had been taken off the NISA membership list.

The NUJ said a letter was sent to all staff last September asking them to give permission for the company to provide personal information for NISA’s membership register. The union says staff were not told that failure to provide permission would mean they were taken off the list.

The union claimed that, as a result, almost half of the 3,000 staff had not filled in the forms. An NUJ spokesman said: “There is a widespread belief that the letter was deliberately vague.”

But Holmes said he had received only one complaint from staff over the matter. He said four letters had been sent out to staff at News International informing of the need to register their details and that items had been posted on office noticeboards and in the staff newspaper. He said: “Every attempt was made to contact everyone.”

He added that over 2,000 staff had now returned forms giving permission for NISA to get their details.

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