Emap agrees to talks with NUJ over union recognition


Emap bosses at Greater London House have backed down and agreed to enter into talks with the NUJ over recognition.

The move is seen as a major breakthrough by union members, who have been denied any form of official recognition since the mid-Nineties.

The climbdown came as members were considering picketing Emap’s annual awards night at Alexandra Palace, in protest at the lack of response from management over the results of a ballot last month.

In a poll of around 100 staff working on the healthcare, public sector management titles and in Emap Esprit, 87 per cent voted in favour of recognition of the NUJ. Plans for the picket, which would have been witnessed by staff across the company, were shelved at the last minute.

Chris Derby, managing director of Emap’s healthcare and the public sector management titles, met John Foster, general secretary of the NUJ, to discuss the matter last week.

Foster is due to meet Carrie Barker, managing director of Emap Esprit in the next 10 days.

Details of the meetings remain confidential.

Foster declined to comment when approached by Press Gazette. However, members say the next step will be to try to reach an agreement on a bargaining unit. They are now waiting for Derby to respond in writing.

One NUJ member said: "There was talk of a demonstration if Emap wasn’t prepared to talk but this is a huge step forward because we got such a strong result in the ballot."

The NUJ has made repeated efforts over the past three years to get Emap to talk about recognition. It was also considering submitting an application to the Arbitration Council.

Emap bosses sent letters to staff before to the ballot and set out arguments against recognition. The letters sent to staff on the Emap Esprit titles were said to be "particularly strongly worded".

According to the NUJ, 103 ballot forms were distributed and 83 returned.

Journalists involved include those on business-to-business magazines such as Health Service Journal, Local Government Chronicle, Nursing Times, Professional Nurse and the Journal of Wound Care, as well as those working on consumer titles such as Slimming and Mother & Baby.

The NUJ plans to stage another event in the next few weeks in support of its recognition claim.

"There will be some sort of event, either to welcome progress or, if there has been no progress, to put more pressure on the company," said a representative.

Support for the union is believed to have strengthened among magazine journalists since Reed Business Information agreed a minimum wage of £20,000 for all qualified journalists in March.

Derek Carter, Emap Business Communications chief executive, was unavailable for comment.

By Ruth Addicott

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