NUJ in protest at Racing Post deal with rival union

Union recognition talks with the NUJ have broken down at Trinity Mirror’s Racing Post, leading 100 journalists to sign a protest petition.

The NUJ said it was close to signing an agreement to represent an estimated 130 journalists at the Canary Wharf-based Trinity Mirror Sports Division.

But Trinity has now informed staff that it has instead recognised rival union the British Association of Journalists.

BAJ is already recognised at the Daily Mirror, The People and the Sunday Mirror, but according to the NUJ, it has very few members at the Racing Post and its sister titles.

Recognition talks between the NUJ and management have been ongoing for several months.

NUJ newspapers organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said: “I rang and wrote to the human resources director and he confirmed that, subject to a membership check showing more than 50 per cent NUJ membership, or a ballot result, they would recognise the NUJ at the Racing Post.”

However, last week the NUJ received a letter from Trinity Mirror saying it had instead decided to

recognise BAJ at its Sports Division.

Fitzpatrick said: “It is totally undemocratic and they have totally disregarded the wishes of their staff – it is so arrogant that it defies belief.”

He said the NUJ may now follow statutory procedures via the Conciliation Arbitration Committee to force Trinity Mirror to recognise the union.

NUJ Father of the Chapel at the Racing Post, Robin Gibson, said: “We were led to believe that talks were ongoing with management – we believe we have got sufficient members already for recognition.

“At the last minute the company has signed a deal with the BAJ, which has only one member at the Racing Post, as far as we know.”

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “BAJ opened up negotiations for recognition in the Sports Division in 2001, and it has been recognised on the UK national titles published by MGN Ltd since the beginning of 2002. BAJ is an independent union which has developed a challenging but constructive relationship with MGN, and already represents the majority of our journalists at Canary Wharf. While MGN and Sports are separate bargaining units, we believe BAJ recognition offers the best deal for staff in both our UK Nationals Division and Sports Division.”

BAJ general secretary Steve Turner said: “BAJ does not want to get into a slanging match with the NUJ. The fact is that BAJ has negotiated a recognition agreement with MGN management to represent journalists on the Racing Post and associated titles. That’s how it is.

“Since BAJ was recognised for MGN’s national titles in October 2001, the union has achieved significant improvements in terms and conditions

for the journalists. We aim to do the same for journalists on the Racing Post and the associated titles now that BAJ has signed a recognition agreement to represent them.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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