BAJ ends recognition deal at Racing Post

A bitter dispute between two rival journalism unions ended this week when the British Association of Journalists moved to end its official recognition deal with the new owners of the Racing Post.

Steve Turner, BAJ’s general secretary, this week wrote to the paper’s new editor-in-chief and chief executive Alan Byrne to offer to terminate the union’s four-year association with the paper. Trinity Mirror sold the paper for £170m to Irish private equity group FL Partners

Under TM’s ownership of the Post, the BAJ represented and collectively bargained for 500 members across the company’s national titles The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The People, including 150 in TM’s Sports Division.

The BAJ had said that if the sale of the Post went ahead, ‘It would give up recognition in the Sports Division as the rationale for recognition would no longer exist.’

Turner stood by the union’s achievements, such as a nine-day fortnight for production staff, improved redundancy terms and

a minimum staff salary of £24,000 after two years. He told Press Gazette: ‘As BAJ has represented everyone regardless of affiliation, the journalists have had the luxury of enjoying the fruits of BAJ’s efforts while not contributing anything in return.”

Turner was critical of the NUJ, which does not have official recognition on the paper but has considerably more members. He said: ‘If the NUJ is recognised by the new owners of MGN’s Sports Division, BAJ wishes the journalists well.

‘They will be represented by a mediocre, strike-happy and extremist-led union.”

The Racing Post’s NUJ chapel has around 80 members while the BAJ has three.

NUJ national newspapers organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said the move proved that the BAJ ‘does not care about its members’as it was ‘abandoning’Racing Post staff just after the paper was sold.

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