Staff win NUJ recognition at Workington Times & Star
29 January 2010
Editorial staff at a Cumbrian weekly newspaper have taken the first step towards collective negotiations with management by gaining NUJ recognition. Staff at the Workington-based Times & Star, part of independent CN Group, joined the union last summer amid concerns over pay and conditions.
An NUJ chapel was formed and officers held meetings with management to iron out the terms or a collective house agreement, with help from Chris Morley, NUJ North of England organiser. A final draft was prepared in January and, after members had voted to sign it, Sarah Nicholls, chief reporter and mother of the chapel, and and Steve Johnston, editor, put pen to paper.
The chapel has 13 members – 76 per cent of the paper's editorial staff – and is looking forward to using its recognition to negotiate future pay rises and other conditions.
Sarah Nicholls said:
"Signing the agreement was the first step in a longer process of negotiation for journalists working at the Times & Star. By signing, I feel we have underlined members' commitment to the whole editorial team over and above their individual desire for better wages, and I look forward to a future of positive negotiations for the benefit of all members.
"The paper used to have an active union focus but that fell by the wayside as staffing changed. This agreement puts us on a level playing field with colleagues at our sister papers, the Whitehaven News and News & Star, for collective negotiation."
Steve Johnston said:
"I welcome this chance to work closely with the new Workington chapel to try to address genuine concerns about pay in the provincial press."
Chris Morley said:
"Staff signed up for the NUJ together and the union was able to have a positive effect almost straight away with some of the most pressing issues in the workplace. Now we have a house agreement signed, we will be working to improve things still further for members."