Buzzfeed Newsroom Split as Axed Staff Lobby Former Colleagues to Unionise

Last week MediaGuido brought you the news that Buzzfeed bosses had failed in their legal bid to prevent their workforce from unionising. Here’s the latest…

Buzzfeed’s Oxford Circus office (one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in London and a bonkers extravagance given recent layoffs) has always been deeply divided on unionisation. Around half opposed proposals for a union chapel from the start. These are the managers, editors, grown ups and proper hacks who realise that Buzzfeed employees get a much cushier deal than if they were churning at MailOnline or the Indy. The pro-union half are more ideological, more millennial and more likely to come from the quiz and cat gifs section of the office. They thought collective bargaining would improve their (already generous) pay and hours and help them avoid the sack. How did that work out…

In the latest round of redundancies, many of those pushing for unionisation left the company. Guido is assured there was no conspiracy by bosses to axe the union troublemakers. Yet far from healing a newsroom that has been torn apart, their departures have caused fresh problems…

When the Central Arbitration Committee ruled last week that Buzzfeed staff could proceed with unionisation plans, only for key agitators like Kelly Oakes and Francis Whittaker to have moved on, it left a phantom chapel. A ballot of remaining staff is now likely to decide whether unionisation will go ahead. Here’s the kicker: an aggressive lobbying operation is underway to try to convince Buzzfeed staff to back the union – remarkably it is being carried out by axed employees who no longer work there. Are they interfering out of comradely spirit, or because they want to screw over their former employer? None of them want to explain to MediaGuido why they have been trying to get their former colleagues to man the barricades and fight the boss class.

It is going down like a cup of sick with those on the other side, who see it as a hostile external attempt to undermine newsroom democracy. After a year of dealing with divisiveness which undermined their work, many remaining Buzzfeed staff are just glad to have jobs and want this to go away. Buzzfeed bosses are learning the hard way the perils of hiring a load of millennial Corbynistas…




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