Union steps up Sun efforts as NISA negotiates better terms

By Dominic Ponsford

The News International Staff Association has negotiated enhanced
pay-offs for sacked Sun staff as the NUJ has made a renewed bid to
represent journalists at the paper.

The Sun is currently consulting company-backed union NISA about £2m
worth of editorial cuts, which include changes to shift patterns, 16
editorial redundancies and scrapping many special payments.

The
new Sun redundancy payment terms include an extra eight weeks for those
with 13 to 20 years of service and an extra 12 weeks for those with 21
years of service or more. These are on top of the basic payouts of one
month’s pay per year of service plus the notice period.

Where the notice period is three months, staff are understood to be getting six months’ money instead.

Last
week the NUJ revived its Sun chapel after a 20-year break and it is now
understood to have more than 50 members out of the paper’s 400-plus
journalists.

This week the NUJ wrote to Sun management, urging it to talk to the union as part of its negotiations over cutbacks.

The
letter was due to be sent to management on Thursday. It calls for no
compulsory redundancies and urged News International to consult the NUJ
about the changes.

Because of the existence of NISA, the NUJ has no legal right to formal union recognition at The Sun.

News International has a history of being opposed to dealing with trade unions.

As part of the cost-cutting moves, NI is looking into scrapping the current four-day week for many journalists.

Sun
managing editor Graham Dudman has responded to a report about this in
last week’s Press Gazette: “We are not proposing the news and picture
desks all start at 6am and finish at 4pm, nor are we looking at a
24-hour news operation.”

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