View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Publishers
  2. Digital Journalism
July 18, 2018updated 07 Nov 2023 5:56am

Buzzfeed UK votes against union recognition saying direct relationship with management is ‘best way forward’

By Sam Forsdick

Buzzfeed UK has opted against union recognition for its London editorial team under the National Union of Journalists.

The decision was made through a secret independent vote that split the Buzzfeed bargaining unit, 22 against and 4 in favour, according to Buzzfeed UK.

A spokesperson told Press Gazette: “We appreciate our employees’ decision to continue our direct relationship with management here in the UK and believe this is the best way forward for Buzzfeed.

“As always, we support and respect the right of individuals within our staff who continue to be members of the NUJ.”

The push for union representation came in November 2016 when the Buzzfeed NUJ chapel asked management to recognise them in a letter to editor-in-chief Janine Gibson.

But, Buzzfeed chief executive Jonah Peretti said at the time that he didn’t think a union “is in the best interests of Buzzfeed or our employees”. He said: “Unions represent employees around a rigid skillset that doesn’t reflect the fluid and flexible way we work…”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet supported the move and in a letter of support said: “The world will not cave in when BuzzFeed editorial staff vote for NUJ recognition.

Content from our partners
Why Germany's most profitable news publisher is staying free online
To protect future newsrooms from AI fakery we must first protect the past
Livingdocs: 'Future-proof and agile' content publishing system

“It will be a move that will improve staff relations with management, and produce results that collectively benefit workers.”

At the start of this year, 23 editorial redundancies were made out of 76 newsroom staff at Buzzfeed UK.

Peretti told staff at the time: “In the UK we are realigning the organisation to focus on content for global audiences and our core UK news beats – investigations, politics, media and social justice – and intend to make reductions across buzz, commercial, news and admin as a result.”

A spokesperson for the Buzzfeed NUJ chapel told The Guardian: “We were disappointed to hear about today’s result, though not entirely surprised.

“We first asked our management for recognition more than 18 months ago, after months of organising, and at that point there was enormous enthusiasm among Buzzfeed UK employees for a stronger voice in the workplace and a collective push for improvements.

“Today, though – following heavy redundancies over the winter and a series of departures since – the makeup of the staff has changed.

“Buzzfeed has poured considerable resources into challenging our bid for recognition, and we have had to contend with a protracted legal process that has at times eclipsed the positive change we’ve been trying to achieve.”

Picture: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Topics in this article : ,

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network