Vice management orchestrate staff council
20 May 2016
Vice management are making moves to form a staff council after they ran a week-long staff survey comprised of only three questions – Do you want a staff council? Rank your most important issues (equality and diversity were not included in the list of issues), and any other feedback – in an attempt to listen to staff concerns.
The survey appears to have been sent to departments including management roles, HR, sales teams and finance. However this was an attempt to dilute support amongst editorial staff for unionising and the survey was not sent to editorial workers, known as permalance, who work in insecure ways for long periods of time at the company.
The result is hardly a ringing endorsement for management’s proposals: 48 per cent of responses said no to a staff council and a switch of only six responses would have meant a staff council would have been rejected altogether.
A significant proportion of staff have said that they are not satisfied with what the company has proposed. We know from feedback that people wanted independent information before making a decision and the union proposed to the company that ACAS facilitate a staff meeting whereby different points of view could be equally represented but the proposal was ignored by management.
Vice management walked away from talks of NUJ recognition across Vice and i-D magazine at the end of April and did not respond to contact from the independent conciliator, ACAS. Management only proposed forming a staff council, also known as a staff association, after the NUJ made a request for voluntary recognition in a Murdoch-style move to prevent genuine collective bargaining by an independent trade union.
Management have not put forward clear and specific details of what a staff council would look like. It has been frequently expressed that staff were confused and not given enough time and information to make an informed decision.
This process also raises questions about why the company would not acknowledge staff’s original request to form a union across Vice and i-D magazine, owned by Vice and working in the same office. Management were clear in union negotiations that i-D and Vice could not be represented jointly, but their proposals for a staff council are doing exactly that.
Staff continue to campaign for an independent union across Vice and i-D and want the company to come back to the negotiating table.
NUJ members are asking for your support, here is what you can do to help: