The Annual General Meeting

ON THE SECOND Monday of every January there is a severe outbreak of democracy. At our Annual General Meeting (AGM) we elect our representatives for the next year: the branch's own officers, plus the members who will represent London freelances on national NUJ bodies.

Any member can stand or propose any other member for any job - that's the extent of it - provided that they are fully paid-up NUJ members. They can job-share, taking a post jointly if they feel the workload would be too great alone. There is a list of Branch officers and what they do here.

Further up the union hierarchy, we can nominate six people to represent London on the Freelance Industrial Council (FIC) that determines NUJ activity in our sector of the union, alongside newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, new media and so on.

We can nominate also to the Photographers Council; to the union's Ethics Council and to the bodies representing various elements of the membership: the Equality, Black Members and Disabled Members Councils.

At a higher national level there is the National Executive Council (NEC), which runs the NUJ. We can put up people to represent freelances, members in London, and, again, Black and Disabled Members.

The NEC sets policy for the union, subject only to the decisions of the union's Delegate Meeting (DM), consisting of delegates from every branch, which meets once only every two years. The next conference is in April, and at the AGM we will also be electing our delegation for DM.

We are entitled to nine delegates. With 3800 members LFB is the biggest branch in the NUJ by a long way.

If more people are put forward for a union body than there are seats then there will be elections, by ballot of all the members concerned. On the other hand, we don't have to fill every place: there are other branches that can nominate their own members. But anyone interested can pitch in; and if you can't make the AGM yourself, you can ask another member to put your name forward. You don't have to be there yourself