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Hyperlocal journalist wins court case over former employer
By Matt Abbott | 14th Mar 2018
Herald Newspapers PLC has been ordered to pay a former freelance journalist who worked for two and a half years for the paper almost £6,500 in unpaid wages and court costs.
The order was made by District Judge Batcup on January 23rd, 2018 following a year of attempts by the paper’s former freelance journalist Alan Evans to recover wages owed to him. The company refused to pay and Mr Evans was forced to take them to County Court where he received legal help from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
A comprehensive bundle put together with the help of the NUJ and presented to the court was ruled by District Judge Batcup as proving unequivocally that the company owed Mr Evans the money.
No representatives of the company attended the first hearing and they were ordered to pay the unpaid invoices and court costs. Herald Newspapers PLC insisted that they had not received the date of the hearing, despite both the court and Mr Evans sending them the details.
Mr Evans claims that staff at the company had signed for the documents, which were sent by registered mail. The company subsequently requested that the judgement should be set aside and that decision was granted.
At the same time, Mr Evans received notification that Herald Newspaper’s PLC had changed address to Fleet Street, London and was subject to a compulsory strike-off notice by Companies House. Mr Evans contacted Companies House to object to the company being struck off and the action was suspended on the 24th February.
The subsequent hearing took place on Monday (Mar 12) and once again, no one from Herald Newspapers PLC attended. District Judge J Lloyd-Davies ruled that the application to have the judgement set aside should be struck off and ruled that the previous order should stand.
“I have had to rebuild my business because this company refused to pay me and I found myself either having to work for them for nothing or leave.
“It has taken 12 months to get this judgement and Herald Newspapers PLC have avoided every opportunity to participate in mediation, which has always been my preferred route.
“I am extremely grateful to the NUJ for their help in this matter.”
Journalism Matters published an article which claims editor Thomas Sinclair owes £120,000 in unpaid debts.
Sinclair has also been taken to an employment tribunal by another former employee, Kelvin Mason, who worked for the Ceredigion Herald. Sinclair was ordered to pay almost £3,000 in unpaid wages.
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