NUJ fights to keep Reed deal

Journalists working on the healthcare titles at Reed Business Information are battling to retain their minimum pay deal after being told the terms and conditions of their NUJ agreement would not be recognised under their new owner.

Reed is planning to transfer all its healthcare titles to Elsevier Health Sciences division, resulting in several redundancies and outrage that the existing NUJ agreement will be scrapped at the end of the month.

Around 50 staff at Doctor, Hospital Doctor, Practice Nurse and Update are involved in total, of which 35 are believed to be journalists.

A spokesman for Reed refused to confirm the exact number of job losses as staff are still in a period of consultation. It is understood that six jobs will be lost in total – four of which are editorial.

NUJ representatives were due to hold talks with Reed this week to try to find a resolution.

The NUJ believes the agreement should transfer – as it did when Reed sold 10 of its business titles to Cumulus Business Media in 2001.

Union representation is also recognised by Elsevier in other parts of Europe, such as Ireland and Holland.

Patric Cunnane, FOC at Reed said: “We are very disappointed that a good business move has been sullied by a decision not to recognise the NUJ in a new set up. We are not questioning the business decision but we are concerned about the individuals affected and the union agreements.”

Cunnane said the main concern was an increase in workload on remaining staff in light of the redundancies.

“Our approach will be to point out to Elsevier that the agreement has been a great deal of benefit to RBI and the NUJ could bring similar benefit to Elsevier by bringing clarity to issues,” he told Press Gazette.

The transfer follows a strategic review of Reed’s medical portfolio.

The union won recognition at Reed in 2000. A year later the company agreed to establish a minimum salary of £20,000 for qualified journalists.

By Ruth Addicott

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