NUJ warns against journalism outsourcing

The NUJ today called for an end to media organisations cutting costs by outsourcing jobs to the developing world.

The union passed a motion at its Annual Delegates Meeting which called for better rights for foreign workers and no job losses for British journalists.

Global news agency Reuters was singled out for criticism after moving “scores” of jobs to Singapore in 2004. It also has operations in India.

The motion claims the Daily Mirror moved its library operations from Watford to India in early 2006 to save £500,000.

NUJ national newspapers and agency organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said he was proud of the work the union has done in the area but called for further action to ensure foreign staff working for British companies had the same rights as their European colleagues.

Fitzpatrick said: “Often people question why the union seems to spend so much time on international issues. But in a global economy only the bosses benefit if [we don’t]. This motion is to demand that British employers ensure the quality and standards when outsourcing.”

Fitzpatrick said that the average wage in India was between £200 and £400 per month and media workers had no formal trade union recognition rights. The motion calls for no compulsory redundancies and re-training or redeployment for people who lose their jobs as a result of outsourcing.

The motion also calls for basic standards for foreign workers such as a decent living wage, the right to union recognition and that British companies donate a some of the their profits to local charities in countries where they invest.

David Gross, father of chapel at the Financial Times, said his paper had outsourced six “low level” editorial jobs to the Phillipines in the last month. He said the paper Had laid off 30 jobs in the past few months and saw the outsourcing as an attempt to fill the gap.

He said: “The management say this is not outsourcing but just moving them. In effect what is happening is that our members are paying for what is happening [due to staff shortages] with the extra stress, extra RSI [repetitive strain injury]. These are the results of redundancies.

Tony Austin, FoC at Reuters, said: “When we raised these issues [about outsourcing to India] to management they said it could have been any low cost centre and what have you got against Indian journalists?”

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