Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Government attacks employment rights




CHANGES TO THE employment tribunal system announced by the Government are very bad news for employees, says trade union the Institute of Journalists (IOJ).

A decision to extend the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one to two years will come into force in April next year. And there are moves to introduce a fee which all claimants will have to pay if they want to make a claim to the tribunal. 

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, said: “There is no justification whatsoever for reducing employment rights in this way.

“We made strong representations about this on behalf of our members, at the initial consultation stage, and yet our concerns seem to have been largely ignored.

“Any decent employer has no reason to fear offering employment law protection to their journalists from day one, after an initial probationary period.  The only employers needing this protection are those who wish to treat their workforce unfairly. And the government has rubber-stamped their mandate.

“What we will find is firms employing journalists on short-term contracts with no intention of long-term employment.”

The second part of the proposal, about claimant fees being introduced, is scheduled to be implemented from April 2013, subject to a consultation period.

She added: “If this goes ahead, this extra burden on the wronged journalist when they are already under serious financial pressure having lost their job, will simply put off legitimate claims.”

“There is some good news in the planned requirement for all claims to go to the conciliation service ACAS before reaching employment tribunal. However, this needs careful implementation in order that it may be used as a genuine means to resolution rather than a delaying tactic, as it has been in the past by unscrupulous employers.”


Note to Editors

  • Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.
  • The IOJ (TU) is the trade union arm of the Chartered Institute of Journalists. The Institute represents staff and freelance journalists in every sector of the industry, including local and regional newspapers.