NUJ slams sham redundancy exercise at Iran International

The National Union of Journalists has condemned the targeting of NUJ members and chapel reps at London-based broadcaster Iran International in a redundancy exercise it believes to be a pretext to force out the union’s chapel rep who has led the recognition campaign at the channel.

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The Iran International chapel met this week to offer solidarity and support to their affected colleagues and unanimously agreed a statement calling on the company to reconsider its decision and to acknowledge that trade union rights are human rights.

The statement said: “Iranian journalists living outside the country have always been a reflection of the voices of those who in the past decades have had their rights violated by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and whose fundamental right to live in a free and fair society has been encroached upon. These journalists have been at the forefront in reflecting the voices of those whose rights to unionise have been unapologetically violated by the Iranian government. Currently journalists working at Iran International face similar treatment by the collective management."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “The solidarity and support of NUJ members throughout the union are with our colleagues at Iran International who have worked so hard to secure an independent voice at work through their recognition application, putting up with absolutely unacceptable pressure and victimisation as a consequence. The twists and turns of the legal process have been surreal and unprecedented – with the company signing not one but two secret deals with the British Association of Journalists (BAJ) in a desperate effort to thwart and block NUJ recognition. We will do all we can to support our colleagues who have lost their livelihoods in this awful way – but make no mistake the NUJ and its chapel is not bowed, it remains strong and this week reaffirmed its commitment to securing recognition.”

Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said: “These redundancies were trumped up and clearly aimed at victimising and removing our chapel’s FoC. The whole redundancy process was a sham with the company refusing to answer many of our questions and promising to send us documents that never even existed. Our legal team is mounting a robust response and we will be lodging an interim relief claim with the tribunal, and will take all steps to stamp out such victimisation of trade union activities.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "This blatant targeting of union members by making them redundant makes a complete mockery of international laws and commitment to protect unions' rights. We express our full solidarity with NUJ colleagues at Iran International and demand full justice for what is a clear act of discrimination."

The NUJ secured the backing of the entire trade union movement with its motion to TUC Congress last month, calling for a campaign for reformed workers’ rights that would disbar the kind of secret, behind-closed doors recognition deal that BAJ struck with Iran International in July.

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