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Journalists' union wins recognition at two newspaper publishing centres

The National Union of Journalists has won recognition at two regional newspaper centres – one owned by Newsquest and the other by Northcliffe.

Newsquest Essex covers journalists employed at the Basildon Echo, Thurrock Gazette, Southend Standard, Castle Point and Rochford Standard, the Basildon Recorder, the Brentwood and Billericay Weekly News and the Chelmsford Weekly News.

The union won recognition through the Central Arbitration Committee.

Union members at the Leicester Mercury have also won a ballot for union recognition – only the second chapel at Northcliffe Newspapers to win union rights. Seventy-nine per cent of those voting were in favour of being represented by the union. Forty-two per cent of the total editorial staff did not vote for recognition.

Speaking about the Essex agreement, assistant organiser Don Mackglew said: “I am pleased to see the increased number of new members joining the union, prompted by the way management was behaving regarding recognition.

“It was also interesting to observe the number of non-members signing the petition for the union to be recognised at the company.”

Father of the chapel, Charlie Mellor, added: “I am sure that members will be delighted that they finally have a chance to convince management that better pay, hours and conditions are not a pipe dream, but vital for stemming the flow of staff voluntarily leaving the company.”

The NUJ is moving towards recognition at two other Northcliffe chapels.

A ballot will take place next month at the Staffordshire Sentinel, and the official letter starting the process has been sent to the Scunthorpe Telegraph.