Subs rise needed to secure our union’s future

THE NUJ faces a significant challenge at our next Delegate Meeting in April 2020. By then, subscription rates will not have risen for six years. In that period, inflation has pushed up costs by approximately 2 per cent each year - about 10 per cent in total.

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And as a result of regulatory change beyond the union's control, the cost of the now-closed staff pension scheme could rise by £150,000 per annum.

Balancing the NUJ's £4.7m annual budget won't be possible after this year, unless subs rise. We don't have reserves on which we can fall back.

A paper adopted by the National Executive Committee at its last meeting explains the background, and proposes a solution.

We must raise subscriptions by 15 per cent in 2020 and a further 10 per cent in 2021.

Of course discounts will continue for those on lower incomes, and we plan to do more to publicise these - see www.londonfreelance.org/FAQ.

The alternatives are stark. Without a significant increase in subs, the union will have to reduce the size of our already hard-pressed staff and consider the future of one or more of the offices outside London. The result would be a reduction in services to members.

If subs income were static, even staff cuts would probably only delay the need for a protective merger with a larger union. Were that to happen, I believe the industrial organisation of journalists in the UK would take a blow, recovery from which is hard to imagine.

The NEC is keen that as many members as possible consider these options and contribute to discussion. The plans are not set in stone and the more members who contribute ideas and views, the better.

The NEC paper is available at www.bit.ly/FinancePaper and the London Freelance Committee asks you to send your views to us at future@londonfreelance.org