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Union welcomes ‘genuine boost’ for axed staff as Reach deal announced

chris-morleyUnion chiefs have welcomed a decision by Reach plc to enhance redundancy terms for some of its employees.

The publisher has announced a deal affecting staff at former Local World titles after negotiations with employee representatives and the National Union of Journalists.

Employees on Local World titles, which were purchased by Reach in 2015, were previously offered only statutory redundancy terms while other colleagues in the Reach stable had been offered enhanced terms.

The company is currently in the process of making around 325 editorial and circulation redundancies after announcing cutbacks due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

Statutory redundancy terms mean employees get a week’s pay for each full year of employment after their 22nd birthday and 1.5 weeks’ for each full year of employment after their 41st birthday, with the maximum payment capped at £16,140.

Reach said in a statement to staff today: “Following extensive discussion and engagement with employee representatives and NUJ officials, we’ve agreed to further enhance the redundancy terms for those employees who are covered by Local World contracts of employment.

“A guarantee of a minimum of three months’ pay in the event of redundancy was already in place and we have worked with NUJ officials to agree to further enhance redundancy pay by giving an additional 0.5 weeks’ pay for each year of service, subject to the statutory redundancy caps that are already in place.

“Therefore, employees will receive a minimum of three months’ pay or these further enhanced terms, whichever is the greater. This will apply to compulsory and voluntary redundancy.

“We will hold these terms in place for Local World employees post this current transformation programme and we have agreed with the NUJ to further review these terms at a future date, yet to be agreed.

“If this change affects you, we’ll discuss with you through consultation. This agreement has no impact on any other group of employees.”

The NUJ’s  Northern and Midlands senior organiser Chris Morley, pictured, said: “The NUJ welcomes this as a good step in the right direction at a critical time in the group’s history.

“It is a genuine boost to those who will be leaving the company as a result of the current group-wide restructure in very difficult times. It is a helpful and fair move for those employees.

“We also think it is one that will help those employees in Local World centres, who remain after the restructure, to feel fully part of the Reach group as it faces the considerable challenge of safely navigating the business through the Covid-19 pandemic.”