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NUJ staff at Independent News and Media say there is an 'oppressive management culture'

The NUJ chapel at the media company has also expressed disappointment at Irish Independent editor Claire Grady’s sudden departure yesterday.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

SOME STAFF AT Independent News and Media (INM) have hit out at the deterioration in morale at the media company and noted an “oppressive management culture”.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) chapel at INM have unanimously passed two separate motions today, one of which expresses “disappointment” at Grady’s sudden departure and calls for “an open and transparent” process when appointing her successor.

Grady stepped down as editor of the country’s best-selling daily newspaper yesterday evening after just one year in the role. She immediately left INM and has been replaced on an interim basis by Ian Mallon, INM’s Group Head of News.

In a separate motion, unlinked to the one concerning Grady, members of the NUJ chapel noted “the deterioration in morale within INM titles and the oppressive management culture” which they claim “is undermining the health and welfare of workers throughout the company”.

The motion calls on senior management at the company to be immediately reminded of their obligations to ”ensure that all employees are allowed to work without intimidation or fear of bullying”.

INM said that difficult decisions have to be made “in very challenging times” and “not everyone is going to like some of those decisions”.

‘Major restructuring’

The majority of staff working on INM titles, which include the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, The Herald and the Sunday World, are members of the NUJ.

Separately, a survey of NUJ members working at the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and The Herald, seen by TheJournal.ie, has revealed staff at the three publications expressing concerns about coming under pressure to work long hours, being subject to unrealistic time pressures and being able to take sufficient breaks from work as well finding it problematic to secure annual leave.

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In a statement today, the NUJ said that Grady’s departure had disappointed colleagues at a time when management is “seeking to enforce major restructuring”.

The Irish secretary of the NUJ, Seamus Dooley, says INM is pressing ahead with merging of news rosters within The Herald and Sunday World and claims the company is refusing to honour agreements with the NUJ. However Dooley did not expand on what those agreements are.

It’s understood that in the NUJ Chapel at INM today agreed to instruct Dooley to write to INM seeking negotiations over the changes at The Herald and Sunday World which will involve over a dozen voluntary redundancies and the merging of editorial staff at the two titles.

A spokesperson for INM said: “The company engages with all of its unions on an ongoing basis.

“There are clearly difficult decisions that have to be made in very challenging times for the news publishing sector and not everyone is going to like some of those decisions. However, INM has not been before the Labour Court in the last ten years.”

Read: Irish Independent editor Claire Grady steps down after one year in the job

Read: Voluntary redundancies at Sunday World and Herald under staff merger

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Hugh O'Connell

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