From the Press Gazette
Trinity Mirror has transferred all staff on the Racing Post from its sports division to a dormant company to encourage its sale, a move criticised by the NUJ for creating uncertainty about its final pension scheme. The union also criticised the company this week for not consulting with staff over the move, as required by law.
On May 29, the paperâ€™s staff moved from Mirror Group Newspapers Limited to Centurycomm Limited, a Trinity Mirror subsidiary company acquired in 1997, but inactive, in order to â€œfacilitate an orderly handoverâ€. The company has been trying to sell the title for months, but has so far failed to attract an offer.
NUJ national newspapers organiser Barry Fitzpatrick called the move â€œdisgracefulâ€.
He said: â€œThis subsidiary doesnâ€™t appear to have any assets or any trading functions, but it now employs all the staff on the Racing Post. We suspect the reason for doing this is eventually the escape the obligations they have on the pension fund. This is a complete smokescreen to disguise the nature of the sale and it offers no reassurances and no guarantees of their terms and conditions being covered by TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations 2006].â€
Fitzpatrick also alleges that the company did not consult with staff as required by TUPE.
In an email sent to all staff on May 29 â€“ the same day as the transfer â€“ and passed on to Press Gazette â€“ Trinity Mirror human resources officer Hayley Oâ€™Donnell said the company was â€œconfidentâ€ of a sale between the end of June and September.
She told staff there would be â€œno changes made in respect of any of your terms and conditions of employment including your pension provisions, save that the name of your employing company will change to Centurycommâ€.
She added that under TUPE regulations, staff would have the same pension scheme while working for Centurycomm, but said that after the paper was sold its new owners would â€œcease to participateâ€ in the Trinity pension scheme.
A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: â€œThe TUPE transfer was undertaken simply to ensure a smooth handover of the sports division to any future owner by separating the Racing Post from the other titles. Terms and conditions for all employees remain unchanged, including existing pension entitlements, until the sale of the sports division.â€
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