Mirror journalists seek to swap BAJ for NUJ

For the first time, the Central Arbitration Committee has been asked to de-recognise one union’s agreement with a national newspaper group and authorise a ballot on recognition by another, writes Jean Morgan .

Some journalists at Mirror Group Newspapers want the CAC to put an end to the three-year agreement between the company and the British Association of Journalists.

BAJ general secretary Steve Turner said the NUJ’s application was “a misguided attempt to inflict pointless militancy on Daily Mirror , Sunday Mirror and People journalists. BAJ will vigorously oppose the NUJ’s application.”

He added: “BAJ members and chapel officials have achieved substantial improvements in terms and conditions at MGN since recognition in 2001 and will continue to do so year on year by reasonable and resolute representation, not senseless confrontation.”

The application was received by the CAC on Friday of last week and the first step will be for a panel to decide whether it fulfils the criteria required.

If it does, there will be a 20-day period of negotiation between the two unions. If the issue is not resolved, there will be a ballot of the 494-strong editorial bargaining unit at the Daily and Sunday Mirror s and The People to decide whether the BAJ or the NUJ will be the new bargaining power.

The application is supported by a 75-strong petition – around 15 per cent of the unit.

People sub Terry Lloyd, treasurer of the NUJ Canary Wharf branch, said: “The BAJ has hardly set the world alight since it won recognition in 2001.

And the last pay claim was a shambles.

“The intention of the application is to give staff a democratic say about who represents them. It’s obvious to most journalists that the dramatically bigger NUJ, with 34,000 members across the country, will do a far better job than the BAJ, which is essentially a one-man band.”

The Canary Wharf branch is in the middle of a recruitment drive and is still compiling a membership list.

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