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NUJ wins recognition at Springer Nature Limited (formerly Macmillan Publishers)

12 September 2018

The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland (NUJ) is delighted to have won trade union recognition at the academic publishing company Springer Nature. Recognition covers those working in NUJ eligible jobs on Nature and its associated products. 

Fiona Swarbrick, NUJ senior national organiser, said:

"We're delighted by this outcome, which reflects the will of the majority of employees to have collective bargaining and is testament to the hard work of our wonderful union committee, particularly the joint Mother and Father of Chapel. The next stage in the process is to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with management, and we look forward to developing our relationship with the company in a positive and collaborative atmosphere.

"If NUJ members in other workplaces want to find out more about how we can work together to win collective bargaining and what that could mean for them and their colleagues, please get in touch." 

Trade union recognition was granted to the NUJ under schedule A1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The process of NUJ recognition at Springer Nature took place without a ballot.  

The next stage in the process is for the parties to negotiate with a view to reaching agreement on a method by which collective bargaining will be conducted. The negotiation period for this is 30 working days, ending on 23 October 2018. During this period the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) may assist the process. If no agreement is reached in the negotiation period either party may apply to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for assistance.

The NUJ submitted an application for recognition to the CAC on 12 March 2018 defining the bargaining unit as comprising of "editorial and production staff in content creation roles (as opposed to those working in purely administrative roles) employed in Nature Research Group at the London Campus". In accordance with section 263 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, the CAC established a panel to deal with the case. The panel accepted the NUJ’s application and following this decision, the parties then reached an agreement on the appropriate bargaining unit. As the agreed bargaining unit was different from that proposed by the union in its application, the panel was required to determine whether the union's application was invalid and in July 2018 the panel decided that the application was not invalid and that the CAC would proceed with the application. The CAC were subsequently satisfied by the evidence provided by the NUJ that a majority of the workers constituting the bargaining unit were NUJ members and therefore granted trade union recognition without a ballot.

During the period in which the parties involved were seeking to negotiate a voluntary trade union recognition agreement, minutes of meetings and correspondence showed that there was constructive and positive dialogue throughout the process. The parties subsequently agreed an appropriate bargaining unit after constructive negotiations in an atmosphere of cooperation and good will, according to the CAC.

The NUJ demonstrated to the CAC that 51.5 per cent of the workers in the agreed bargaining unit were in favour of recognition, and that the employer had submitted no evidence to the contrary beyond the assertion that it was "necessary" or "absolutely essential" for there to be independent verification of the evidence submitted by the NUJ.

Tags: , trade union recognition, trade union rights, springer nature, publishing, central arbitration committee