How LFB spends its money
ALL BRANCHES in the union receive, as funding from Head Office, a percentage of the subscriptions paid by members.
As a large branch, LFB receives around £2000 per month, to be used for membership-led activities (See below).
To this end, members can suggest projects that require funding.
The request for funds is put to a branch meeting via a motion, which is passed or not passed by the members present. (You will need to be a full member of the union to vote.)
Any member can present a motion. Often, suggestions come via the committee, which takes a practical interest in branch activities, but these do not carry any extra weight.
There is a branch standing order, or branch rule, regarding money, and a rule that applies across the union.
LFB standing order 13:
No motion shall be moved at any Branch meeting unless it has been submitted in writing and received by the Branch before the start of the Branch meeting. (The notice is placed on the website: see www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/meetings.html#motions and this note.)
NUJ Rule book 2014, Rule 7(n):
(the part relating to how funds are spent)
(n) A branch shall use its management fund for union purposes and to make contributions in memory of a deceased member. Any balance remaining may be used for purposes connected with journalism or trade unionism or, with the NEC's permission, for local charitable purposes. Notice of such proposal shall be given on the summons convening the meeting.
(The Rule Book is on the NUJ website. NUJ Rules can only be altered at Delegate meetings of representatives of the whole union.)
The rules allow a fairly wide interpretation as to who or what we should give money to - but any member proposing a donation should be prepared to make a case for it and to argue, if necessary, that it falls within the rules and is a worthwhile cause.
For example, asking for money to support a publication or film about trade unionism, or to fund a branch event would be acceptable, but not giving money to any organisation that was anti-trade union, or something that an individual member wanted to produce for his/her own career development.
Branch members are always free to argue about whether a donation is worthwhile, acceptable or within the rules, and, if they do not agree that money should be given (for whatever reason), to vote it down.
Members are not obliged or expected to vote to spend money. It is better that dissent is made plain - there may be others who also disapprove of certain projects being financed.
While democracy determines the outcome of motions, in the interest of fuller union participation, branch members are encouraged to suggest branch projects that they wish to work upon.
Further, a motion put to the branch by a committee member, or members, carries no more weight than one put by a new member. Please vote according to conscience.
Branch members occasionally run up expenses in the course of their work for the branch. These can include fares and (although members cannot claim for travel costs to branch meetings), child-care arrangements.
Generally speaking, small amounts, such as rail fares and child-care, can simply be reimbursed on receipt of application to the treasurer - with an explanation of how much was spent and proof if possible (e.g. copy of train ticket).
Ideally, if a branch member finds she/he is running up expenses in the course of anything other than routine things (like attending committee meetings), it is a good idea to warn the officers and/or committee beforehand.
Note: Amendments to branch standing orders can only be voted upon at the January AGM, and notice must be given: see www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/rules.html. The November branch meeting would be a good time to give notice in person, as the December meeting is usually a social event. Emailing works too, but you may wish people to think carefully about your proposed rule change in advance. Raising the issue in person may make it easier to anticipate objections.