Longer online version; see re-sub-edited PDF

Branch seeks new officers

LONDON Freelance Branch's Committee is looking for a new Training Officer, or possibly two Training Officers in a job share. We give thanks to Romana Sustar for all her hard work as Training Officer. She has had to step down from this role due to other commitments.

Door to the NUJ's training room

The entrance to the NUJ's training room at its London HQ at Headland House

LFB has put on its own courses for many years and has its own Training Fund. The training officer puts together training courses, surveys demand among members for particular types of training and publicises the training currently offered online by NUJ Professional Training nationally, as well as via NUJ Training Scotland, NUJ Training Wales and other affordable providers.

For a flavour of the training on offer, see our latest training update here.

There are also vacancies on the Branch Committee for a Negotiations Officer and two Committee members without portfolio - so there will be elections for these posts at the May Branch meeting on Monday 9 May. We give thanks also to Jenny Vaughan, who stepped down recently as a member without portfolio. Before that, Jenny served as Branch Treasurer for many years and was awarded the NUJ's Gold Badge for the decades of work she's put in for the Union.

To be a Committee member, you must be a full member of the NUJ. Temporary or student members cannot serve on the Committee. However, there is additionally a vacancy for a Student Representative (or Representatives in a job share) with observer status. LFB's Student Rep is a student member of LFB, putting to the Committee the views of the many Branch members who are students at schools of journalism. Our two recent Student Reps were very active in the role but they've now graduated and gone into full-time paid work in the industry, hence the vacancies.

What is a Negotiations Officer, then? It's a post that NUJ Branches need to have under Union rules. Many NUJ Branches and chapels (workplace-based units of NUJ organisation) predominantly represent staff members, for whom collective bargaining is possible in employment law. Freelances have no right to collective bargaining in law at the moment. It is, however, possible to support negotiations and help freelances to organise, as well as supporting the NUJ's Freelance Officers in their struggles on behalf of individual freelance members.

Members without portfolio take on projects as they arise, which could include taking on bits of admin to support other Branch officers. If you're new to trade union activism or new to the Branch, or unsure whether you'll have the time to commit yourself to a Branch officer role, a member without portfolio post might be for you.

There's information on these Committee posts and what they entail here. Current members of the LFB Committee are standing by ready to take on specific tasks for any newly-elected officers.

LFB Committee meetings, on the third Monday of each month, are currently via Zoom. In the event that they become hybrid or face-to-face meetings (likely to be somewhere in London WC1), travel expenses can be paid. The Committee doesn't expect all its members to make it to every Committee meeting. Indeed, when these were face-to-face, we often struggled to fit into the meeting room all those Committee members who did turn up.

There are many Branch officers and Committee members who are currently very active via Zoom from outside the UK. With Branch meetings being in a hybrid Zoom and face-to-face format from May, we continue to welcome candidates for Committee post who are based beyond reasonable travelling distance from London.

Job shares are encouraged in all the above vacant posts. There are also Committee members currently in post who are flying solo and who would appreciate a co-pilot to support them in their role. Branch Chair Tim Gopsill would appreciate a Co-chair. Tim Dawson is currently working alone in the Welfare Officer role, a post that has traditionally been held by two people - where possible one male and one female. Both the Training Officer and Negotiations Officer roles have in the recent past been job shares.

To put yourself forward as a candidate for any of these vacant posts - Training Officer, Negotiations Officer, member without portfolio - or to offer to job-share with an officer already in post solo,) contact a member of the Committee or announce your candidacy at the Branch meeting on 9 May. All Committee posts are up for re-election at the next Branch Annual General Meeting, which will be on 9 January 2023.