<p>Staff at T&F Informa books business have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in protest against proposed changes to its house agreement. The vote was 92 in favour and eight against in a ballot organised by the National Union of Journalists Books Branch. A total of 140 ballot papers were sent out.
T&F books--dominated by Routledge--has proposed to change the terms and conditions for all new starters, bringing them in line with those at its journals business. The NUJ said the changes would lessen negotiation rights and give new recruits "far worse" redundancy and sickness benefits, and no childcare or eye test provision. Roger Horton, who is to become head of the academic division of newly formed T&F Informa, comprising books and journals, said: "I hope that strike action as a result of the ballot will not be taken, but it is inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage." The chance to hold talks through conciliation and arbitration service Acas has been welcomed by the NUJ, but not yet accepted by T&F management.
News of possible strike action coincided with an early indication from T&F on how many Routledge people will relocate to its new books building in Milton Park, Didcot (Oxon). More than 40% of staff will continue with the company, including those editors who are to remain at John Street, London. The final tally could rise to nearer 50% as the last few people make up their minds. Horton will oversee the books and journals division at the adjacent sites at Milton Park.
He said: "I am very pleased that so many of the books people are coming. I'm disappointed that it isn't 100%, but it is a big decision in people's lives." Those to stay include all the directors and editors, and "a good number" of senior and middle managers. "The stability of the business is assured," Horton said.