NUJ wins recognition at Northcliffe's South Wales centre after long battle

The National Union of Journalists has won recognition at South Wales Media, home of the South Wales Post, following a lengthy battle with owner Northcliffe Media.

NUJ members at the Swansea office took their claim to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in April after a request for voluntary recognition in February was refused.

In a postal ballot at South West Wales Media, 49 per cent journalists at the Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star voted in favour of formal recognition of the NUJ, by 45 to 34, exceeding the 40 per cent threshold laid down by the CAC

The union had claimed that with 47 members it met the legal requirement of membership of 60 per cent of a workforce. However, Northcliffe expanded the bargaining unit by adding advertising copywriters, editorial secretaries and assistants. The ballot went ahead after both sides agreed on a final bargaining figure of 93 staff.

NUJ assistant organiser for Wales, Lawrence Shaw, said the union had always wanted a ballot in the work place: “We didn’t want automatic recognition, we wanted everyone to have a say. We were confident throughout we’d be able to secure a majority vote.

‘Recognition is not the right to take action, we’re not talking about strikes. What we’re talking about is the right to sit around a table formally with the management to talk about pay and conditions. It’s not about going for worldwide revolution.”

The NUJ’s new Deputy General Secretary, Michele Stanistreet, added: ‘I’m confident that all journalists at the papers will soon see the benefits of a unionised workplace, won because of hard work by some excellent local reps.”

No one at South Wales Media was available for comment at the time of going to press.

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