NUJ achieves historic union recognition at Press Association

  • 12 Jun 2024

The union has welcomed a decision by the Central Arbitration Committee to approve automatic recognition at the company.

The National Union of Journalists has welcomed the decision to approve its application for union recognition at Press Association (PA) without the need for a ballot as monumental, following a concerted effort to achieve collective bargaining power at the company.   

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) responsible for determining union recognition approved automatic recognition as over 50 per cent of journalists within the relevant cohort at PA are NUJ members. Today’s decision follows months of resistance from PA despite journalists from across the company supporting the call for recognition. 

In its declaration, the CAC stated it “found no evidence” that union members at PA would not want collective bargaining conducted on their behalf, as suggested by the company.  The independent body also recognised that there would be no benefit to delay the process by a ballot of members on whether union recognition should be granted.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: 

“This historic decision is the culmination of extensive work and imaginative campaigning by our reps at PA and the crucial evidence provided to the Central Arbitration Committee. We have repeatedly sought to engage with the company on the views of our members and their right to structured formal processes through recognition.  

“This campaign, backed by hundreds of journalists across the group, will no doubt inspire editorial workers at other media organisations that achieving union recognition is possible even in the face of opposition. We welcome approval by the CAC and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to PA journalists and reps in fighting for a collective voice at work and improved terms and conditions for members. Huge thanks are deserved to all of our members at PA – especially our brilliant reps – and our team of staff, industrial officials and lawyers who together have put so much effort into securing this win." 

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

“I'm absolutely delighted by this decision. Our members at PA have campaigned tirelessly to encourage colleagues to join the union and fight for strengthened collective power and a real voice in their workplace.  

“Today’s news is thanks to their dedicated efforts and sheer determination to improve conditions for all at the company. Union recognition will mean longstanding issues on low pay, transparency and pay progression can be tackled constructively with the company and we look forward to meaningful engagement with PA now this decision has been granted.  

“I want to say a massive well done to all those involved in getting this result in what has been a lengthy and difficult process for all concerned. And a special thank you to our current and former reps at the company who have been outstanding in their approach and commitment throughout.”    

Jonathan Brady and Emily Pennink, co-chairs of the PA NUJ chapel, said:

“We are delighted the union has been recognised at PA. This is the culmination of a long process which began in 2020, and we are so grateful to everyone who has been involved, and for the support we’ve had along the way.  

“We are now looking forward to working hard to get the best we can for our colleagues and this decision ensures they can all have a real say in what happens at PA. We all love working for PA, it is a huge honour and responsibility to bring the news to people, one we all take very seriously.  

“We now want to work with the company to improve things within our workplace to make PA the best it can be.  

“We would like to say a huge thanks for the invaluable support we have received from our colleagues who are not yet in the NUJ, journalists from other organisations, NUJ officials and the legal team - especially Laura Davison, Mostafa Rajaai, Natasha Morris and Madeleine Stanley. 

“Finally, we would like to thank the CAC itself for conducting this process in a fair and constructive manner, and for its ultimate decision.” 

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