NUJ backs new Collective Bargaining Manifesto

For immediate release 30 October 2013 The NUJ has confirmed its official support for the Institute of Employment Rights' (IER) Collective Bargaining Manifesto, making it the 14th major union to support the new policy proposals.

30 Oct 2013| News

For immediate release

30 October 2013

The NUJ has confirmed its official support for the Institute of Employment Rights’ (IER) Collective Bargaining Manifesto, making it the 14th major union to support the new policy proposals.

Other supporters include Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT, PCS, CWU, ASLEF, BECTU, AEP, ATL, RMT, UCU and POA.

Authored by renowned legal and public policy experts Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC, President and Chair of the IER respectively, the Manifesto for Collective Bargaining calls on the government to encourage negotiation on wages and conditions between employers and workers’ representatives.

The ten-point Manifesto is part of larger publication, Reconstruction after the Crisis: A Manifesto for Collective Bargaining, which lays out the economic and social benefits of collective bargaining, including job creation, reduced income inequality and the abandonment of exploitative conditions such as zero-hours contracts.

General Secretary of the NUJ, Michelle Stanistreet, said:

“Employees should always have the right to join an independent and democratic organisation representing their interests at work. Employers should be compelled to accept and promote the benefits of a constructive dialogue with workers’ representatives aimed at reaching agreements to improve working conditions. The availability of collective bargaining is essential for all industries and unites the trade union movement as a whole.”

President of the IER and Professor of Public Law at King’s College London, Keith Ewing, said:

“There will be no long-term solution to current economic gloom without raising wages and equalising incomes. Only by doing so will we stimulate demand, increase spending, and create real and fully productive jobs that do not need to be subsidised by the State.”

Chair of the IER and leading trade union lawyer, John Hendy QC, said:

“A fundamental problem with the British economy is the dramatic drop in the value of wages. As well as painfully diminishing the standard of living for most people (while the rich enjoy ever increasing wealth) this has depressed demand causing the loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue and one of the worst performing economies in Europe. A vital way to re-establish the value of wages, decrease inequality, and stimulate job creation, is to reinstate sectoral collective bargaining – that is collective bargaining on an industry by industry basis.”

Among the policies proposed by Ewing and Hendy are:

  • Establishing a Ministry of Labour to ensure workers have a voice in parliament separate from that of corporations;
  • The gradual reintroduction of sectoral bargaining – that is the negotiation on pay and conditions between trade unions and employers at a sectoral level;
  • Incentives for employers to engage with collective bargaining – such as disallowing companies which refuse to negotiate with their employees from public sector contracts;
  • An overhaul of trade union recognition legislation to ensure that workers always have the right to be represented by their trade union in work-related matters and that unions are recognised by employers if at least 10% of the workforce are members.

– END –

The manifesto for collective bargaining:

Read the ten-point version of the manifesto here. The full publication is on sale here; review copies available for free.

Economic impact of collective bargaining:

Please see our infographic for a brief illustration of the economic impact of collective bargaining.


The Institute of Employment Rights was established in February 1989. It is a network of academics and lawyers acting as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law. It is an independent charity supported by trade unions representing over 6 million UK workers. See; Tel: 0151 207 5265.

Professor Keith Ewing:

Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King’s College London. He is President of the Institute of Employment Rights and Legal editor of the journal International Union Rights. He is also a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedoms.

John Hendy QC:

John Hendy QC is a leading employment law barrister, operating from Old Square Chambers London and H P Higgins Chambers in Sydney Australia. He is Chairman of the Institute of Employment Rights, vice-chairman of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)and a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. John is standing counsel to UNITE, ASLEF,CWU, NUJ, NUM, POA, RMT and UCU.


Founded in 1907, the NUJ is one of the biggest journalists’ unions in the world. The National Union of Journalists is the voice for journalists and journalism. The NUJ is an inclusive union and represents a broad range of media professionals. We strive to improve the pay and conditions of our members and protect and promote media freedom, professionalism and ethical standards. The NUJ is an active union – our members take part in campaigning and negotiating to ensure we are properly rewarded for the skilled work we do. The union is represented in towns and cities all over the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe. NUJ members work together to improve living standards and working lives. They work across the media – as staffers, casuals and freelances. Members work in broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, books, in public relations and in new media.