Guardian strikes multimedia deal

A POTENTIAL strike at the Guardian and Guardian Unlimited has been averted with a deal on 24/7 working. But union members have called for industrial action to remain an option should Guardian Media Group management renege on commitments won by the union.

After eight months of negotiations and several days of discussions at the Arbitration and Conciliation Service (ACAS,) the NUJ's Guardian Chapel (workplace-level union organisation) approved the deal. The union won significant concessions.

These include no forced moves to new shift patterns, big incentives to workers who do choose to adopt new shifts, and an "extended commitment" to ending compulsory redundancies, strengthening a clause which management wanted to scrap. Freelance casual subs at the Guardian will be included in the new-media training programme, aimed at equipping them to for "integration" of print and online content when the Guardian moves to Kings Cross in November 2008.

Watch this space for more details of how this deal with impact on freelance shift-workers and contributors. Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, speaking at November's LFB meeting, just as the talks with the Guardian reached a critical point, observed that its "contracts are getting nastier."

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