Wednesday 5 October 2011

NUJ election for DGS runs into more trouble with row over censorship of candidate's statement

The NUJ election for a new deputy general secretary, which has to be re-run after errors in the membership voting data came to light last month, has hit fresh trouble over a censorship row.

A complaint has been made that parts of a statement by candidate Helen Gavaghan, which was sent out to all members, were blanked out. The union claims that the "redactions" were made on legal advice because they were defamatory.

The challenge by an NUJ member to the Certification Office calls for the election to be run without the redactions, claiming the NUJ is in breach of Section 48 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

The NUJ says it is confident there has been no breach but added: "However, the multi-national nature of our elections means that even if there was legal protection under UK law the union could still face a defamation claim in Ireland or elsewhere."

The union's National Executive Council will discuss all aspects of the ballot at its meeting on 15 and 16 October, including the revised election timetable. The decision to halt the ballot last month was taken after the discovery of an error in the compilation of the membership data. The NUJ says this issue has now been resolved and the data externally verified.

Besides Gavaghan, the other candidates in the DGS election are Barry Fitzpatrick and Chris Youett.

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