Post 'lost its bottle' over pay arbitration

The NUJ has accused management at the Birmingham Post & Mail of “losing their bottle” and dropping a binding arbitration agreement when it came to the annual pay deal.

The union claims it reluctantly accepted a binding arbitration clause when the company recognised the NUJ in 2001. Now the union claims that when the Post & Mail’s latest pay offer, worth 2.5 per cent, was due to be considered by ACAS, the company broke its commitment to arbitration.

NUJ northern organiser Miles Barter said: “They lost their bottle when they realised outside arbitrators could make a judgement on their pay offer, which is below inflation. They know this year’s offer is not sufficient and they weren’t prepared to have it tested by a third party.”

But a Post & Mail spokesman countered: “The pay and benefits award was based on the formula in the partnership agreement, the Birmingham Post & Mail’s voluntary recognition and collective bargaining agreement.

“In January, while the GPMU and Amicus accepted the award, the NUJ called a dispute when a minority of their members rejected it.

“The company has met its obligations on pay. The NUJ has not, by demanding a settlement outside the remit of the agreement. The company has, however, moved into the disputes and differences procedure in good faith.”

He added: “The NUJ has only now confirmed precisely what its demands are in terms of the pay and benefits claim. This claim would add an unacceptable extra cost to the business and it is obvious that the dispute cannot be resolved through arbitration.”

By Jon Slattery

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