Sun staff flock to NUJ over NI 'betrayal'
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Tuesday 21 February 2012
Dozens of Sun journalists have joined the National Union of Journalists in recent weeks, giving it hope of establishing a firm foothold in Rupert Murdoch's newspapers for the first time since the company smashed print unions and moved to Wapping in 1986.
"I think this is a generation tipping point like none other at News International," said the union's leader Michelle Stanistreet, right, in an interview with The Independent. "There are people who have worked there for almost their entire careers, who have given years of loyal service, and that has made the feelings of anger and betrayal particularly high and strong this week," said Ms Stanistreet.
"They genuinely feel that they've been thrown to the wolves and that the company is much more focused and interesting in appeasing the anger of American investors – and that the interests of journalism and the livelihoods of the individual journalists simply don't matter, that they are dispensable."
The NUJ has been working with disenchanted Sun journalists and two QCs, Geoffrey Robertson and John Hendy, to bring a case on behalf of NI journalists against News Corp's Management and Standards Committee for passing emails, invoices and expenses claims dating back years to the Met's Operation Elveden into police corruption.
Ms Stanistreet disclosed that the claim would probably be based on two legal points: that the company had breached a contractual duty of care and confidentiality towards employees; and that it had breached their human right to freedom of expression by revealing their sources. The action would be in the names of individual journalists but on behalf of all staff at NI's three titles – The Sun, Times and Sunday Times.
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