NUJ and AOL agree redundancy terms

Members of the National Union of Journalists at AOL UK have backed down from threatened industrial action after securing new terms for planned redundancies at the web portal.

The settlement, which the union described as ‘vastly improved’came after members of the journalists’ union, which represents editorial staff at the web portal’s UK operation, had voted overwhelming in favour of industrial action.

The union, which had sought to avoid compulsory redundancies, secured a voluntary redundancy scheme and changes to the scoring process for deciding on redundancies.

The union represents only the 35 members of AOL UK’s editorial operations. Lawrence Shaw, NUJ assistant organiser for new media, said he expects about 17 of its members to be made redundant by the end of the year. Under the terms of the new agreement, Shaw said, most of these should now be voluntary redundancies.

The agreement with the company will remain in place until the end of 2008, meaning that any further redundancies at the company will be subject to the same terms.

Shaw said: “While the loss of jobs is always regrettable, the NUJ chapel and their representatives have done a great job in standing firm and winning the best deal for members – not only for those who are leaving, but also for those who are staying.”

In September, the NUJ chapel had voted unanimously in favour of action short of a strike – with almost 96 per cent in favour of strike action – after AOL announced plans to make major cuts in its European operations, including the outsourcing of some UK-based jobs to India.

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