Who has the right to join the NUJ?

Bristol Branch delegates Paul Breeden and Christina Zaba, NUJ Annual Delegate Meeeting in Belfast, 2008

by Paul Breeden

Chair, NUJ Bristol Branch

It’s Delegate Meeting time next month – the conference at which union members debate policy for the next 18 months.

Several of us are going as Bristol Branch delegates, and we’d like to hear your views on any of the issues that will be discussed – including who has the right to become an NUJ member. I’ve bulleted a few of them below, but for the full agenda  go to http://www.nuj.org.uk/files/Final2011.pdf.

If you’ve got views on any of the topics below, or anything else to be discussed at DM, please come and tell us at the Branch meeting on Thursday 24 March, write a comment below, or email me at: 

Topics to be covered (this is my own pick of the 149 motions – it can’t be comprehensive, so look at the agenda for more details):

Gender balance: Motion 18 would require branches to ensure a balance of men and women wherever possible when nominating members for positions

Government policy: Motion 28 calls for the NUJ to support a vigorous anti-cuts campaign, possibly including a general strike

Blogging: Motion 39, submitted by Bristol branch, builds on the success of our What’s The Blogging Story event last autumn, and calls on the union to look at building a network of blogs that promote and adhere to the NUJ’s Code of Conduct

Racism: Motion 41 calls on the union to campaign against  the BNP and other fascist groups from being allowed to use mainstream media as a platform. NB: Bristol members at the last branch meeting were opposed to a no-platform-for-racists policy

The PCC: Motion 43 calls for the abolition of the PCC and its replacement by “a more independent, effective regulatory body”

Photographers: Motion 57 calls for the establishment of a dedicated, elected Photographers Council to represent all NUJ photographers, staff and freelance

Media co-operatives: Motion 79 highlights a nascent news co-op in South Wales and calls for union support

African journalists: Motion 82 supports the work to get African governments to commit to protecting free journalism

Northcliffe: Motion 92 condemns staff cuts and high profits at Northcliffe Media (owner of the Evening Post, and the partially-reprieved Venue)

Murdoch: Motion 105 calls for a review of media ownership rules which allow Rupert Murdoch undue influence

Photography permits: Motion 115, from us, campaigns against permit schemes by councils such as Bristol which demand fees from photographers for filming on publicly owned land

Joining the NUJ: Motion 127 says NUJ membership should be extended to anyone working for a media company, eg technical or support staff, or in media departments of any company – a radical proposal, but one which might allow the union to grow, and to  become the union for all media  workers.

And Motion 128 suggests the earnings limit for NUJ membership should be reduced from 50% to 25% to counter low wages, the growth of new forms of journalism and the fragmentation of the industry

Internet workers: Motion 135 encourages the union to reach out to workers in new media companies

The Journalist: Motion 143 calls  for the editor of the union magazine to be appointed instead of elected by all members

Cashback for interns: Motion 145 highlights a campaign which has won payments for unwaged media interns, and regrets that The Journalist didn’t cover it except by way of an advert

Health cuts: Late Notice Motion 6  condemns the Govt’s Health and Social Care Bill and points out that by abolishing many health bodies it restricts journalists’ opportunity to report on health matters.


Best wishes

Paul Breeden
Chair, Bristol NUJ

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