Delegate Meeting 2012

Delegate meeting report THE NUJ's policy-making "Delegate Meeting" (DM, its conference) in Newcastle on 5-7 October opened with General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet speaking on the Union's funding crisis and its Recovery Plan. The Union's actuaries predict that a valuation of the pension fund for union staff will report a shortfall of £2M to £4M in the Spring. There will be difficult talks with staff over a "sustainable pension scheme".

© Mark Pinder

DM heard from Frances O'Grady, General-Secretary-elect of the Trades Union Congress

Other DM resolutions were in response to the crisis around the Union's finances. A motion was passed increasing subscriptions by 5 per cent. Most of Saturday morning was taken up with discussion of the financial situation, culminating in a vote (79:63) to censure the National Executive. Concern over a payment to the previous General Secretary, including that raised in a motion from LFB, was answered with a statement clarifying the details of the payment.

The role of Google in undermining journalists' and other creators' rights to get paid for our work was a constant theme of DM's first morning. DM passed a London Freelance Branch (LFB) motion which welcomes new alliances to defend authors' rights, particularly that with consumer groups and calling for more work to educate citizens on their rights in what they create.

The Branch agreed to "remit" its motion calling for the union to support independent research on the impact of government policy proposals, on the basis of a National Executive Committee statement of support for the principle.

Following card votes, proposals for Councils to represent photographers and members over 60 (the latter an LFB motion) were both passed. An LFB motion arguing the case for a Dead Members' Section was ruled out of order. And LFB's motion calling for a working party to investigate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the NUJ in the face of media change was defeated.

A move to reduce the number of members of larger delegations, such as LFB's, was defeated 93:92 on a card vote. Following a close vote, DM will now take place every two years, making it a BDM. The Freelance anticipates with some trepidation a Biennial Delegates' Special Meeting.

Last modified: 28 Oct 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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