NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has issued a direct plea to journalists at News International to come up with the 10 per cent support needed to have a vote on derecognising internal union the News International Staff Association.
In a piece written for the blog of former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, she said today: “The cracks began to show at News International last year in the wake of the closure of the News of the World. Journalists and staff at the paper lost their livelihoods overnight. Some reporters were plunged into the most Kafkaesque of circumstances – sacked without a penny for alleged ‘wrongdoing’ without even being told what they were supposed to have done wrong, deprived of an internal investigatory or appeal process because it might compromise a potential police investigation. Reputational damage, financial and emotional limbo – these people have been hung out to dry…
“The NUJ has been defending many journalists at News International – reporters, subs, photographers and others – who have given decades of their life to Murdoch’s newspapers yet who have been cynically and brutally dispensed with in a consistent corporate policy of damage limitation and obfuscation.”
The NUJ has traditionally had little representation at News International since the union-busting move of News Internaional from Fleet Street to Wapping in the 1980s.
Stanistreet said: “Change is possible. Just as the establishment of NISA was a loophole in the recognition legislation served up to Murdoch by politicians in his thrall, so there is a loophole that will open up the door to real trade union protection. If ten per cent of journalists at News International say they want NISA to be derecognised, the case can be made and won. With derecognition comes the opportunity for recognition of the NUJ.”
She confirmed that QCs Geoffrey Robertson and John Hendy are working with the NUJ on preparing a case against the News Corp Management and Standards Committee on behalf Sun journalists who have been arrested in recent weeks. Concerns have been raised that News Corp disclosures to police have compromised journalistic sources.