Bullivant strikers resolve dispute by securing changes at work

  • 18 Sep 2020

The chapel has achieved significant outcomes over the last few months.

Bullivant strike picket line

© Marcus Mingins

NUJ members working for Bullivant Media Limited have voted to withdraw the threat of three further days of strike action after reaching a 'positive and welcome agreement' with the company.

The chapel was formed earlier this year and includes every member of the editorial team. Members voted unanimously in favour of industrial action in July. Four days of strike action were held on August 25/26 and September 1/2.

The dispute focused on allegations of unauthorised deductions from wages at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, targeted compulsory redundancies and detrimental working practices which has seen non-editorial staff taking on editorial work.

Plans for five compulsory redundancies were reduced to three job losses last month.

Plans for a three day strike this week from September 16 to 18 were paused on Tuesday (September 15) following constructive talks between the company and the newly-elected joint mother and father of chapel and NUJ officials which began last Friday (September 11).

The Bullivant Media NUJ Chapel said:

"We have secured agreement on working practices and been provided with details of the company's editorial structure for the months ahead.
"This would have not been possible without the united efforts of a young chapel and the exemplary guidance and support from NUJ officials before and during industrial action.
"Our demands from the outset were fair and reasonable and based on the desire to produce quality journalism that serves our local communities.
"That is what our readers want and deserve. Quality journalism makes economic sense and is key to the survival of local media.
"Our thanks to the directors of Bullivant Media for the open and engaging way they approached discussions once meetings began, by listening to each other we have been able to secure a positive and welcome agreement.
"We sincerely hope this agreement heralds a positive and fruitful relationship between both sides going forward."

Jane Kennedy, NUJ organiser, said:

"I would like to pay tribute to all members of the chapel who have acted at all times collectively, they have been able to achieve a range of significant outcomes over the last few months as a consequence.
"All outstanding wages had been previously repaid and we have secured an agreement that the chapel have said should lay the foundations for better working relationships between members and the company. We hope that the positive approach to reaching an agreement this week will continue."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Congratulations to all our chapel members who have stood up together in defence of quality relevant local journalism and fair treatment at work. We look forward to building on this improved engagement with the company at this difficult time for the news industry."

The company runs weekly free newspapers and websites with titles including the Coventry Observer, Leamington Observer, Rugby Observer, Stratford Observer, Solihull Observer, Redditch Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Worcester Observer and Evesham Observer.

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