Delegate Meeting 2021 is on!
During those two days - 21 and 22 May - delegates from NUJ Branches and Councils will vote on motions. There is a week of online events for members around DM starting, on Monday 17 May. All of this will be virtually via Zoom, using technology for managing virtual union conferences and voting at them developed by the National Education Union. These dates have only recently been announced: more details and an agenda will follow.
DM 2021 started life as DM 2020, which was to have been in late April last year, face-to-face in Southport, Lancashire. The pandemic forced its postponement. LFB elected nine delegates for it, plus a reserve in case one of these couldn't show up. Why nine members? Because we're the biggest NUJ Branch by a long way. Our Treasurer Jenny Vaughan, a veteran of many DMs past, is our "delegation lead", with our Chair Matt Salusbury (then newly in post) as our "alternative lead".
It has recently been confirmed that the original LFB delegation for would-have-been DM 2020 is the delegation for DM 2021 in May. As the news has come quite suddenly, our Delegate Lead is at the time of writing still awaiting confirmation from all the delegates that they can still attend. If any should reply in the negative, which we will know very soon, stand by for possible by-elections for some possible LFB delegates to DM in the March Branch meeting (Monday 8 March or possibly the April Branch meeting (Monday 12 April as well. Only full members of the Branch, not temporary members or student members, can stand.
It is also likely that there will be a by-election for reserves for the LFB DM delegation, in the expectation that some of our delegates won't make it after all. With a gradual lockdown easing anticipated between now and late May, delegates who at the time of writing reasonably believe they won't have much work in May may suddenly find they have some urgently-needed paid work after all.
There is a small daily "loss of earnings" allowance for freelance NUJ members who attend DM as delegates.
The agenda for DM 2021 isn't out yet, so we don't know what motions to be put before DM will still be on the agenda. The Branch put some motions and proposed amendments to some from other Branches. One example is the motion calling for increases in Union subscriptions in an attempt to avert a financial crisis. Some motions put before DM Before Covid well over a year ago may no longer be relevant.
LFB has always mandated its delegation how to vote - instructing them in advance, via votes in Branch meetings - how to vote on particular motions. The Branch meeting may instead instruct the delegation to listen to arguments and come to a collective decision based on these. There is also some scope for Late Notice Motions or Emergency Motions based on stuff that's happened recently.
LFB will need to get input – at short notice – from its members on what positions its delegation should adopt at DM. This is likely to happen at the April Branch meeting. There will be a limited opportunity for some last-minute DM business in the Branch meeting on Monday 10 May.
In the run-up to previous Delegate Meetings we have held meetings of the delegation to look at the agenda in detail and then present proposals to Branch on how they should vote at DM.
There are also NUJ posts which are elected by delegates at DM, for which LFB may wish to nominate members at a Branch meeting.
Watch this space and @NUJ_LFB on Twitter for updates.