Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

Emergency Reach/NUJ talks end in stalemate

Reach PLC

Following two days of ACAS-brokered talks over the bank holiday, negotiations between the National Union of Journalists and Reach plc have broken down with no deal, and a vote of no confidence in Reach CEO Jim Mullen.

The stalemate means planned strike action by staff will now go ahead, with an extra day added to strike plans and an extension of work to rule at the national publisher. NUJ reps also unanimously passed the vote of no confidence in the chief executive.

The three-day strike will now take place from Tuesday 13th September to Thursday 15th September inclusive – the same week that the TUC Congress takes place in Brighton., with work to rule commencing when journalists return to work on Friday 16th September.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Despite a settlement being in touching distance following exhaustive talks at ACAS, with significant collective effort on the part of negotiators for both sides, the company’s no-show chief executive kiboshed any chance of a sensible deal that addresses our members’ key priority – their consolidated pay.

“NUJ members are clear where responsibility lies here, and that is shown in a unanimous vote of no confidence in Reach chief executive Jim Mullen. This is a man who’s enjoyed a £4million package from Reach this year, yet is intent on denying journalists a fair pay deal, even though the business has cash in the bank that could easily ensure its staff don’t continue to suffer the damaging impact of this cost of living crisis and a severe real-terms cut in salary. Failure to resolve this dispute represents a monumental failure of leadership on his part.”

Reach had offered a 3 per cent/£750 increase to staff, overwhelmingly rejected by 79 per cent of members in ballot results earlier this month. As the union was poised to go on strike last Friday (August 26), the employer, at the eleventh hour, proposed talks with the NUJ brokered by ACAS.

A spokesman for Reach said following the stalemate: “Over the weekend we have been in discussions with the NUJ in hope of avoiding industrial action, but unfortunately these talks have ended without agreement.

“We were able to meet the majority of requirements put forward by the NUJ and proposed an accelerated career development framework that would have set out clearer salary progression for journalists, so we are disappointed that our offer was rejected.

“We remain open to talks at any time to resolve this dispute and to begin to deliver these substantial improvements for our journalists. Our priority continues to be to protect the interests of all our colleagues and stakeholders, ensuring the group has a sustainable future in the face of an uncertain economic backdrop.”

Related News