Guardian job advert error 'highlights closed shop'

Guardian News and Media has been criticised by journalists for withdrawing a job advert that should never have placed.

Last month, GNM advertised for two reporters to cover hard news and features, with a 11 January deadline.

But this week, applicants were sent an email that said: ‘Due to unforeseen business reasons, this vacancy has been withdrawn.”

Those business reasons were an agreement with the National Union of Journalists which was apparently overlooked when the advert was placed.

This agreement states that vacancies for permanent reporting positions should be offered first to staff on fixed-term – non permanent – contracts.

When GNM was reminded of this deal, the advert was withdrawn. Journalists have criticised the group for placing the advert at all.

One agency reporter told Press Gazette: ‘It was not a simple form, it involved days of preparation and research to answer some of the questions. So, as you can imagine, I was dismayed to receive the email.

‘I’m assuming a good deal of journalists probably applied, like I did, for these positions.

‘They don’t come around that often so it’s really disheartening when you put in a lot of work to try and impress a potential employer only to find out the job no longer exists.”

Another agency reporter, based in Scotland, said: ‘I thought it was too good to be true. National newspapers seem like a closed shop, so to see a vacancy advertised was really exciting.

‘I thought ‘good on the Guardian’ for not limiting themselves to London-based journalists who can work weekend and evening shifts alongside their normal jobs.

‘Unfortunately this is another missed opportunity to recruit some non-London talent. How else can we find a way in?

‘Ability does exist outside the M25.”

A Guardian spokeswoman said: ‘We have an agreement with the NUJ to ring fence interviews to those on fixed-term contracts.

‘These advertisements coincided with the end of a number of fixed-term contracts and to honour NUJ agreement we had to withdraw the vacancies.”

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Our agreement ensures that people who have shown loyalty to the Guardian – even though they have been working without secure employment – are given the chance of a staff job when the opportunity arises.”

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