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Drogheda house agreement can be signed

3 August 2007

The emergency committee of the NUJ's national executive (NEC) has unanimously ruled that the controversial Drogheda Independent house agreement can be signed. The committee unanimously rejected in its entirety the motion passed at the Irish Executive Council (IEC) on 27 July 2007.

The committee, meeting under rule 8g affirmed that there is no impediment, either under rule or policy, to the signing of the Drogheda Independent house agreement by chapel officers and the appropriate officials of the NUJ.

The committee paid tribute to the work of the chapel and the negotiating team in securing a broad-based agreement with:

A strong equality content:

  • Full recognition of the NUJ and union organisation within the company.
  • Requirement on non-members to join the NUJ before contract of employment is issued.
  • Protection of pension benefits.
  • Enhanced maternity leave.
  • Strong flexible working policy.
  • New rota including 35 hour week.
  • Enhanced rates of pay by up to 6000 euros per annum.

The committee expressed its full confidence in the leadership of the chapel which conducted lengthy negotiations in an open and consultative manner.

The Committee noted that the Drogheda Independent chapel  put negotiated change at the heart of the bargaining agenda. The committee equally noted the company's commitment to agree terms of reference on the signing of the house agreement that will take due cognisance of NUJ policy in respect of technological change.

Recognising that the agreement has implications for reporters and photographers, the committee welcomed the stated commitment of the company to maintain professional photographers to perform core photographic coverage. The Committee welcomed the commitment to establish a joint working party to monitor the implementation of the clauses relating to photographic technology.

The committee recommended that, in drafting the terms of reference, the chapel and the negotiators should give due regard to:

  • Maintaining the primacy of newsgathering as the core function of reporters.
  • The development of an agreed training programme which takes account of experience, skills and aptitudes of individual reporters.
  • Strict adherence to health and safety standards and the application of best practice.
  • The effect on current photographic arrangements within the three titles.

Finally, the Committee condemned the abusive attacks and smears on the union and its officials in relation to the issue. The Committee placed on record its complete confidence in all officials involved in negotiating the Drogheda Independent agreement.

Tags: , newspapers, photographers, drogheda independent, convergence