By Dominic Ponsford and Roger Pearson
The NUJ has failed in its Appeal Court fight to have rival union the British Association of Journalists “de-recognised” at Mirror Group Newspapers’ Racing Post.
- October 2, 2020
- September 21, 2020
- September 15, 2020
The union had appealed against a High Court ruling last November
that refused the NUJ’s application to be recognised by MGN for
collective bargaining purposes at its Sports Division titles. It argued
that most of the 130 editorial staff at MGN Sports Division would
support it being recognised for collective bargaining ahead of BAJ,
which was set up by former NUJ general secretary Steve Turner.
Lords Justices Buxton and Latham, and Sir Martin Nourse, dismissed the
challenge, which focused on employment law provisions and the European
Convention on Human Rights. The appeal centred largely on provisions in
the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
NUJ applied to the Central Arbitration Committee two years ago for the
right to represent Racing Post journalists, a majority of whom are in
the union. However, the CAC decided that in law it had to refuse the
application because Racing Post journalists were already represented by
BAJ – even though at the time BAJ had only one member in MGN’s Sports
The NUJ argued the agreement with BAJ had been incapable of being implemented.
It also said there had been a breach of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.
dismissing the challenge, the appeal judges ruled that the agreement in
dis- pute was effective. They held that there was no requirement in the
Act stipulating that an agreement had to be capable of being operated
to be effective.
On the question of the human rights issue, they
said they did not consider that a right of union recognition for the
purpose of collective bargaining fell within the rights that are
guaranteed under article 11 of the convention, which relates to the
right to “freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association
with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions”.
general secretary Steve Turner said: “As BAJ already represents the 500
journalists on MGN’s three national titles, it makes sense for BAJ also
to represent the 140 journalists in MGN’s Sports Division, which covers
the Racing Post and associated titles.
“The Central Arbitration
Committee, the High Court and now the Appeal Court have all confirmed
that BAJ’s recognition agreement with MGN’s Sports Division is lawful.
So I hope journalists on the Racing Post and associated titles will now
join BAJ to enable us to build on our present representation on their
“BAJ has already negotiated two successful house agreements on behalf of Sports Division journalists in the past two years.”
general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “The anti-union laws that make this
ridiculous and unfair situation possible must be got rid of immediately.
can it be just for an association with no members to be given the right
to represent people who don’t want to be represented by it at the gift
of the employer? There is no justice in this perverse decision.”