Labour MP 'exposes Northcliffe's dirty little secret'

A Labour MP has told how he was constantly having to deal with individuals who suffered intimidation at the hands of the management of Northcliffe Newspapers.

Addressing the launch of a campaign to promote union recognition, Parmjit Dhanda, the Labour MP for Gloucester, said he was having to deal with NUJ and GPMU members who were told by Northcliffe management: “If you want to get on, don’t join the union.”

“Activists are picked on for belonging to the union,” said Dhanda.

The MP was joined by Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Frances O’Grady, the deputy general secretary of the TUC, and Chris Harding, a national officer of the GPMU, for the House of Commons launch of the campaign for union recognition in the newspaper industry.

O’Grady congratulated the NUJ and GPMU for “exposing Northcliffe’s dirty little secret of intimidation and bullying”.

Phillips expressed concern that the intimidatory attitude of certain employers would have a detrimental effect on editorial staff.

“If management are allowed to bully, they will do so on the editorial side, which will affect what is written,” he said.

Dhanda invited a number of MPs present to sign his early-day motion asking Northcliffe Newspapers to refrain from anti-trade union practices. A Northcliffe spokesman said: “Centres within the Northcliffe Newspapers group recognise four trade unions, including the NUJ and the GPMU.

“The group complies implicitly with the law and with decisions of the Central Arbitration Committee, which oversees this element of legislation.

“The company is surprised and disappointed that the MP concerned has not sought its point of view on this matter.”

By Paul Donovan

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