JOURNALISTS AT Mirror Group Newspapers are campaigning to get their NUJ union recognised.
Management currently recognises the British Association of Journalists (BAJ), a breakaway group set up by sacked NUJ general secretary Steve Turner.
Since it was recognised, the BAJ has failed to stop a wave of redundancies or secure agreements on pay. In contrast, the NUJ has grown in this period.
NUJ members have presented a 75-strong petition to the Central Arbitration Committee, the government agency which oversees trade union recognition.
Terry Lloyd, an NUJ member on the People newspaper, told Socialist Worker, “The so called union, the BAJ, was recognised three years ago as the Mirror denied the NUJ organising rights.
“The BAJ is not recognised by the TUC and it has a no-strike policy.
“The BAJ got in first under the new recognition law. We have waited three years to challenge them.
“To get recognition we have to have a ballot to derecognise the BAJ and then another ballot to recognise the NUJ.
“The NUJ has a solid membership at the Mirror Group. The NUJ is an established union with a really powerful history at the Mirror.
“The BAJ has hardly set the world alight since it won recognition and the last pay claim was a shambles.
“The intention of the application is to give staff a democratic say about who represents them
“It’s obvious to most journalists that the NUJ, with 34,000 members, will do far better than the BAJ, which is essentially a one-man band.”
If a ballot goes ahead 494 people at the Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People will be asked to decide on recognition.
The BAJ is also recognised at the Racing Post, owned by the Mirror, where it has no members.
The NUJ has at least 80 members on the title but is not recognised.
Some 113 of the paper’s 130 staff have signed a petition saying they don’t want to be represented by the BAJ.
The Mirror stitched up an agreement with the BAJ last year, which had one member at the Racing Post at the time, even though it was negotiating with the NUJ.
The Central Arbitration Committee ruled that the recognition was law and could not be overturned.
NUJ MEMBERS at Manchester Evening News were set to strike on Sunday and Monday of next week in protest at management plans to force through changes to their working patterns and practices.
Management wants to produce a new breakfast time edition of the paper with no extra staff or resources.
The strike follows an 83 percent vote. After the strike the union is imposing a work to rule.