Vice
Vice UK staff want to be 'digital industry standard bearers' by securing union recognitionFacebook/Vice

Journalists at Vice UK are one step closer to collective bargaining rights after the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) requested trade union recognition from the digital media giant. The move comes after editorial staff at the so-called "hipster bible" distributed a letter to co-workers in a bid to drum up enough support to be represented by the NUJ.

The employer now has 10 days to respond to the NUJ's voluntary request. The union could take the case to the Central Arbitration Committee and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service if Vice turns them down.

"Vice should be leading the industry by setting high standards for employment as well as journalistic integrity," a Vice NUJ committee spokesperson argued.

"While digital media is a rapidly growing and changing industry, it's important for employers in the sector to respect workers' rights. We enjoy working at Vice and we just want a voice in making improvements for staff."

The NUJ's letter to the company said: "The NUJ wishes to establish constructive industrial relations with your company and hope you share that aim for the benefit of the company's workers and the company."

An NUJ source told IBTimes UK that workers had made the move to unionise in a bid to get collective barging rights, rather than because of a grievance with the employer. But the source alleged Vice UK journalists had concerns about pay transparency and career progression.

Vice UK forecast a turnover of £100m ($143m) in 2015 for its European operations, according to documents filed at Companies House.

The firm also revealed it had a turnover of more than £49m in 2014, and more than £38m in 2013. The employer paid out more than £13m in wages and salaries in 2014, up from £9.8m in 2013.

Vice Media, which has high-profile backers such as WPP, Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox, will launch a new 24-hour channel on Sky in UK and Ireland in September.

"VICELAND will focus on a distinct, immersive style of original lifestyle and culture content for young viewers and will feature a slate of brand new Vice-produced UK programming, including a cast of talent both familiar and new to British and Irish audiences, ensuring the channel has a strong local feel and voice," a joint statement from Sky and Vice said.

Vice UK declined to respond to IBTimes UK's request for comment.