NUJ celebrates union recognition for Reach Local Democracy Reporters 

  • 13 Dec 2021

The union says it is now looking forward to working positively with the company and LDRs across the UK in the BBC-funded scheme. 

The NUJ and the UK’s biggest regional newspaper publisher, Reach, have signed an agreement for collective bargaining over pay and conditions for local democracy reporters (LDRs). 

The union has now secured recognition agreements in each of the three major publishers involved in the scheme, Reach plc, Newsquest and JPI Media.  

Reach is the biggest partner in the BBC-funded scheme where reporters are allocated to news organisations and cover top-tier local authorities, second-tier local authorities and other public service organisations. Of the 165 LDRs, 75 are employed by Reach. 

The deal covers collective bargaining on pay, hours and holidays, subject to the terms in the agreement Reach has with the BBC. There is also provision for consultation on terms of employment, job structure and content and health and health and safety. 

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

“The BBC’s local democracy scheme has proved to be a success in safeguarding quality public interest journalism in a key part of the UK democratic fabric, and LDR journalists are rightly highly respected for the work they do. 

“The NUJ welcomes this voluntary agreement with Reach which recognises the union’s ability to represent its LDR members in the company collectively on the important elements of their employment. Our members are keen to build on the constructive relationship developed with the company during the discussions which have culminated in this agreement. 

“We now look forward to getting down to the business of making this work in the interests of our members and the business - and especially contributing to the continued success of the LDR scheme. 

Charlotte Green, Mother of the LDRs’ chapel, said:

“The chapel is delighted to have been able to sign this voluntary agreement with Reach. To have achieved recognition is a milestone that is the culmination of several years of hard work by union members and officials since the launch of the scheme in 2018.  

“We are now looking forward to working positively with the company and advocating for Local Democracy Reporters based all across the UK.” 

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