NUJ threatens action at AOL UK

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The NUJ has written to AOL UK threatening to ballot for industrial action as early as next Thursday unless the company provides details of potential redundancies in the web portal's content production department.

The letter was sent after members of the AOL chapel met with NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear on Wednesday.

Time Warner announced the sale of AOL UK's internet access business to Carphone Warehouse for £370m on 11 October. An AOL spokesman confirmed that 130 AOL UK staff would be transferred to Carphone Warehouse, leaving less than 400 in the remaining AOL business. The company has informed the DTI that there could be more than 100 redundancies.

"There's supposed to be a consultation, but no information has been given to the chapel, which is making it quite angry," said NUJ new media organiser Jenny Lennox, who represents a bargaining unit made up of 80 producers, designers and journalists.

One AOL journalist said: "Our stance is that we don't actually understand why any redundancies are required because we're taking on extra readers and there will be more work to do. The [management's] stance is that it is going to restructure the company, but it refuses to say how or when or in what way." An AOL spokesman said: "Uncertainty is inevitable in processes like these. The management team is very keen to provide those answers as soon as it can."

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