Rebuff for NUJ bargaining bid at Archant

The managing director of Archant Norfolk has said he is not prepared to accept the NUJ’s request to separately represent journalists at the group.

Instead, Barry Dennis wants a bargaining unit on papers such as the Eastern Daily Press and Evening News, Norwich, to be made up of the whole editorial team. That would include photographers, technicians, input pool staff, library staff and administrators/secretaries.

In a company response to a legal request from the NUJ for recognition for journalists only, Dennis said: “I have formally written to the NUJ indicating that the company cannot accept this request to recognise that narrow bargaining unit for bargaining purposes.

“The company’s position is that we believe that it is better for the business to deal directly with our workers on terms and conditions of employment.

“While we believe that recognition is not appropriate, if it is to take place the company is firmly of the view that it must involve the whole editorial team and not just part of it.”

Last month, he received a formal request for recognition of the NUJ for bargaining purposes. “To my surprise,” he said, “the NUJ has decided only to seek recognition for journalists.”

One of the journalists said: “It’s ironic that this e-mail arrives just after we’ve been awarded a pathetic annual pay rise of about 2.75 per cent.

“When Eastern Counties Newspapers relaunched as Archant last year we were told it was all about the staff but, predictably, we’ve been left short-changed.

“I believe the management feels by trying to include inputters and technicians in the vote it is more likely to fail. It realises journalists are in a stronger position to bargain for a higher wage rise as one large collective rather than as individuals.”

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