NUJ recognised at Messenger 26 years after dispute

The National Union of Journalists has won recognition at Messenger Newspapers in Cheshire, 26 years after the group was involved in a bitter union dispute.

In 1983, the group – then owned by Eddie Shah, who went on to found the Today newspaper – used industrial laws, and sacked strikers, to break pickets.

During the dispute, Shah received death threats and was sent coffins for him and his family.

But now the union has won back statutory negotiating rights after the Central Arbitration Committee agreed 60 per cent of journalists in the group, now owned by Newsquest, were NUJ members.

Messenger titles include the Sale and Altrincham Messenger and Stretford and Urmston Messenger.

The agreement also includes the Warrington Guardian series, the St Helen’s Star, the Leigh Journal and the Wirral Globe.

Colin Bourne, NUJ northern regional organiser in the Eighties, said: “This was the company that spearheaded the tide of anti-unionism and created the conditions for the miners’ strike the following year. To win back union rights there is extremely significant.”

NUJ assistant organiser Jenny Lennox said: “I would like to congratulate the members in Cheshire and Merseyside for winning this campaign.

“We now have to negotiate a new agreement in the face of company attempts to enforce pay freezes and other cutbacks.”

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