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Herald Denies Blocking Collective Agreement

Thu, 23 Sep 2004

Herald on Sunday management tonight refuted claims by the EPMU that it was blocking a collective employment agreement with journalists working on the new newspaper.

Earlier, EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said the union intended to take legal action over what he described as APN New Zealand's refusal to apply The New Zealand Herald's editorial collective agreement to the new Sunday paper.

Herald on Sunday Publisher Rick Neville said the company was prepared to negotiate a collective agreement for staff who wanted one, but preferred to see an arrangement tailored to the circumstances of a start-up Sunday newspaper. These were very different to a daily.

Mr Neville said the threat of legal action would have no impact on next Sunday's launch or on publication of the Monday-Saturday Herald. Less than half of the daily paper's editorial staff were covered by a collective agreement. The Herald on Sunday was fully staffed and well-prepared for launch date.

"We've brought together a group of some of New Zealand's top journalists who are working hard to produce a fantastic new newspaper next Sunday. We've got a full team on board who are passionate about the rare chance to be involved in a major newspaper launch."

Mr Neville said at a meeting with Mr Little and Herald chapel representatives this afternoon (Friday), the company said it was happy to negotiate a collective agreement with Herald on Sunday staff who wanted one. Staff recruited to date have negotiated individual employment agreements.

ENDS

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