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Unanimous vote for action at Bullivant Media

14 July 2020

Journalists at a weekly newspaper and website company have voted unanimously in favour of strike action.

A ballot of NUJ members at Midlands-based Bullivant Media Limited resulted in a 100 per cent vote in favour of strike action and action short of a strike.

The Bullivant Media Limited NUJ chapel was formed last month and includes all editorial staff. The ballot is part of a dispute over pay, jobs and working practices.

It follows unauthorised deductions in salaries over three months, growing workloads with fewer staff, and the increasing use of divisive working practices and flawed performance data.

The company, established in the 1980s, runs weekly free newspapers and websites including the Coventry Observer, Leamington Observer, Rugby Observer, Stratford Observer, Solihull Observer, Redditch Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Worcester Observer and Evesham Observer.

All working staff were finally paid what they were owed on Wednesday 1 July. Others have been furloughed as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which tapers off from next month and expires at the end of October.

A Bullivant Media Limited NUJ chapel statement said:

"This emphatic ballot result sends a clear message to the company that it needs to respond speedily to our reasonable demands for fair pay and working practices, and to rule out any compulsory redundancies in future.

"We have said throughout the dispute that we recognise the tough trading climate due to the Covid-19 crisis. But unsafe workloads and unreasonable working practices have been heaped on journalists, and there has been little goodwill or attempt to seek agreement."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands senior organiser, said:

"The chapel is united and determined to make sure members are protected against unfair working practices and job cuts and that in future wages are paid as they should.

"We hope the company will now sit down and discuss a positive way forward for the business and our members in a calm and reasonable way."

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