NUJ lands £200k payout for former Daily Sport staff

The NUJ has secured almost £200,000 for former staff made redundant when the Daily and Sunday Sport went into administration earlier this year.

The titles ceased publication in April when parent company Sport Media Group (SMG) announced it was unable to pay back its debts, resulting in the loss of around 80 jobs including 25 journalists.

The Sunday Sport returned in May after being bought by a joint venture between West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan and former staff, but administrators BDO were unable to find a buyer for its sister title.

The plight of the 62 staff made redundant following the closures was taken up by the NUJ, which said the case was pursued because of a lack of consultation with staff at the time.

Each of the 62 staff is now entitled to claim eight weeks’ pay capped at £400 from the Redundancy Payments Office, with the total amount coming to £3,200 per person.

The NUJ extended its support to all non-journalistic staff in the workplace who were not represented by another trade union at the time.

NUJ assistant organiser Lawrence Shaw said: ‘The NUJ is pleased to have secured a total of nearly £200,000 in damages for employees who lost their jobs when the Sport Media Group went into administration.

‘The former Daily and Sunday Sport newspapers had a loyal and talented workforce before it was closed down in April. Unfortunately the papers were badly mismanaged and suffered a premature death.”

At the time of its demise it was reported that Richard Desmond was a key player the closure as his company Northern & Shell printed and distributed both titles and was one of its key creditors.

SMG’s discussions with its bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, also broke down.

Shaw added: ‘Questions still remain over the role of Richard Desmond and the taxpayer-owned RBS bank in the closure of the titles. It is easy for people to forget that the Daily Sport was the first daily newspaper in the UK to go to the wall since 1984.

‘I hope this case demonstrates the importance of journalists being members of the NUJ and sheds some light on the benefits of joining a trade union. No other organisations lead the fight for justice in the same way.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: ‘This is a fantastic result and shows just how valuable it is to have the backing of the NUJ. I hope this victory also sends a strong message to those companies who choose to shirk their legal obligation to engage in a meaningful consultation process.”

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