NUJ wins union recognition battle with new media giant AOL
26 May 2005
The NUJ was awarded automatic recognition at AOL (UK), part of the giant US media conglomerate AOL on Wednesday.
The decision was made by the Central Arbitration Committee despite fierce objections from the company, which was trying to force a ballot even though the union had proved it had more than 50 per cent membership.
This is the NUJ's first recognition victory in a stand-alone new media company. Time Warner, the parent company, is the world's biggest media company.
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said:
“This is a great triumph and the NUJ members who worked so hard on this landmark agreement should be extremely proud of themselves.
“We are now looking forward to negotiating an agreement that will help us work for better terms and conditions at AOL (UK).”
The NUJ had been running a recognition campaign at AOL for about two years. One of the first issues raised by the NUJ was the issue of union representation at disciplinaries and grievances.
Talks went nowhere and when the company started a reorganisation involving considerable redundancies last December, the NUJ put in its claim for statutory recognition. NUJ members organised a petition objecting to the derisory redundancy terms offered (1 week for every year). This was later increased, but the company denies that this was anything to do with the NUJ’s intervention.