Barclay swift to answer NUJ meeting request

The Telegraph Group’s new owners in waiting have already impressed rank and file journalists by responding to a letter from the paper’s NUJ chapel with unheard of promptness.

The Telegraph chapel wrote to Aidan Barclay, who is expected to take over day-to-day running of the publications, to request a meeting and ask that current agreements with the NUJ be upheld.

Barclay called Father of Chapel John Carey within 48 hours to agree to a meeting after the business has formally changed hands on 31 July.

Carey said: “We were very encouraged by it. By the standards of the previous regime, if you wrote to Dan Colson you didn’t get a reply for some time, if at all.”

Barclay is understood to be keen to “play things by the book” and has indicated that existing house agreements are likely to be upheld. The NUJ gained official recognition at the Telegraph titles last year and currently has 300 members there.

Carey said: “We had a very friendly conversation, during which Mr Barclay responded very positively to our requests for an early meeting and for a guarantee that our existing house agreement would be honoured. We’re encouraged by that and appreciate his rapid response to our letter. Now we hope to meet in early August, assuming, of course, that the sale goes through as planned by the end of July.”

The £635m Telegraph Group sale is currently the subject of a legal challenge by former chairman Conrad Black, who still owns 18.2 per cent of the shares in parent company Hollinger International and 68 per cent of the voting rights.

By Dominic Ponsford

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