London Freelance Branch meetings

LFB meetings are at 7pm on the second Monday of each month (except August). They are at NUJ HQ, Headland House, 72 Acton Street WC1X 9NB at 7pm sharp: go directly to the meeting schedule (or to this month's motions.)

[NUJ London Freelance Branch]

For the benefit of members coming in from shifts and so on, there are sandwiches.

Please check back here - meeting subjects and speakers inevitably change from time to time. To be sure of receiving our monthly email alert and virtual Freelance listing, give us your details at www.londonfreelance.org/linkup.

Volunteer minute-takers are still needed for some Branch meetings. Please contact a committee member if you are interested: see contacts.

NOTE that under the Branch rules any motion for a meeting must be sent, in writing, to the Freelance editors ten days before the meeting date: see below for a handy form for submitting motions. See here for guidance on Tweeting and recording meetings.

The Branch also organises meetings for members new to freelance journalism, to meet other people new to the Branch and members with more experience of freelance journalism. These take place at the Camera Café, Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY (map) on the last Thursday of every third month from 6pm: check specific announcements in the Freelance/.

Date Speaker/subject
Mon Jan 08 Annual General Meeting 2018: elects a new Committee. More notes on what it does here.
Thu Jan 25 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon Feb 12 A data protection law update
Mon Mar 12 Where are the women political cartoonists?
Mon Apr 09 The issue of trust in journalism
Thu Apr 26 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon May 14 Whistleblowing journalist and campaigner Eileen Chubb
Mon Jun 11 Barrister Adrian Berry on your rights after Brexit and Claudia Delpero of Europe Street News
Mon Jul 09 Our speaker was the NUJ's General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet on what the NUJ is doing about gender pay gap, particularly at the BBC. Report soon.
Thu Jul 26 Meeting for members new to freelancing
August No meeting
Mon Sep 10

We will have include a report on the situation facing journalists in Afghanistan, where 10 journalists were killed in a series of targeted attacks in April. We will look at practical ways in which journalists can support colleagues in Afghanistan.

Our speakers will be LFB's own Safiullah Tazib, just returned from that country and, from Brussels, Ernest Sagaga, Head of Human Rights and Safety for the International Federation of Journalists.

Mon Oct 08 To be announced
Mon Nov 12 To be announced
Mon Dec 10 Almost certainly, a Branch social event

The Branch Committee welcomes suggestions for speakers and topics for meetings: contact editor@londonfreelance.org.

Headland House is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The nearest stops on the Tube are King's Cross St Pancras (Victoria, Picadilly, Northern Line City Branch, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and, when the Moon is full, the Circle Line).

If you need the Branch to pay for care for a dependant to be able to attend a meeting, contact a Branch officer.

1. Treatment of fellow journalists

This Branch resolves that it is Branch policy that all Branch members shall treat fellow journalists and members with respect and with sensitivity toward equality issues relating to gender identity, sexuality, age, nationality, race, religion, disability, class background, legal status and marital status. The branch aims to be an inclusive and supportive space where all members feel equally welcome and encouraged to contribute and take part. Where branch members experience conduct that falls short of this, they are encouraged to approach the branch's Welfare Officers to discuss how to address and resolve the situation.

2. Speakers at Branch meetings
Held over from January

London Freelance Branch welcomes the range of guest speakers arranged for branch meetings.

The Branch resolves to invite speakers to all meetings except the AGM and instructs the branch committee to follow the following principles as much as possible in selecting them:

  • There should be no more than two speakers at any meeting;
  • There must be a good balance of speakers in terms of gender, race and age;
  • If speakers are working journalists eligible for NUJ membership they either must be members or have applied for membership;
  • Speakers will have expenses reimbursed (including overnight stay if necessary) but not be paid a fee;

If branch business is pressing, the Chair may delay the start of the speeches but not beyond the limit of allowing one hour within the standing orders (that is, by suspending the SOs to extend the meeting for up to half an hour).

The motions archive - 2018

Motions for the June 2018 meeting:

Amazon
passed

This branch notes the advertised agreement on the NUJ's Facebook page between Amazon ("Amazon smile") and the NUJ, whereby purchases from Amazon will result in the company donating to NUJ Extra. This branch believes that entering into this agreement was both misguided and unacceptable. There are numerous reasons for not supporting Amazon, and for encouraging members to avoid doing so: the most important being their notoriously poor treatment of their staff. This branch urges NUJ Extra to re-think this arrangement, and terminate it forthwith.

Motions for the March 2018 meeting:

1. Speakers at Branch meetings
Held over from January

London Freelance Branch welcomes the range of guest speakers arranged for branch meetings.

The Branch resolves to invite speakers to all meetings except the AGM and instructs the branch committee to follow the following principles as much as possible in selecting them:

  • There should be no more than two speakers at any meeting;
  • There must be a good balance of speakers in terms of gender, race and age;
  • If speakers are working journalists eligible for NUJ membership they either must be members or have applied for membership;
  • Speakers will have expenses reimbursed (including overnight stay if necessary) but not be paid a fee;

If branch business is pressing, the Chair may delay the start of the speeches but not beyond the limit of allowing one hour within the standing orders (that is, by suspending the SOs to extend the meeting for up to half an hour).

2. Trauma summit
Held over from January

This branch resolves to support the Trauma Summit currently being planned by the union centrally with a sum of up to £450, this sum to be handed over upon conclusion of the event and the presentation of an account of its costs.

Amendment (A) to Motion 2:

Replace all with:

This branch resolves to support the Trauma Summit currently being planned by the union centrally. It looks forward to hearing details of the plans for the summit, and agrees to make a donation towards it, if necessary in advance of its taking place.

Amendment (B), to Motion 2:

In the above replace the words
"an account of its costs." with the words
"its total accounted costs. Included in the request for LFB funding after the event shall be an account of other contributors to the event's expenses."

Motions for the February 2018 meeting:

0. Delegate Meeting motions
all passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to confirm the motions that it earlier voted to put before the Union's Delegate Meeting and to make whatever amendments are necessary for them to comply with DM Standing Orders. It will consider proposing such amendments to other motions that it supports to help put them "in order".

Note: the above is a "holding motion" to give the necessary notice of the debate. See the amendments with spefics below and come back before the meeting to check for more.

Amendment (1) to motion 0: DM motions

Add at end: London Freelance Branch resolves to amend its motion 114 to Delegate Meeting thus:

  • Delete paragraph 2;
  • In paragraph 3:
    1. line 1, delete "with" and insert "is" between "economy and "forcing"
    2. line 3, insert a full stop instead of a comma after "decades"
    3. line 3, delete rest of paragraph after "decades." and insert "This is naturally generating new levels of tension for everyone involved in the union which can provoke internal conflicts between NUJ activist members and/or between activist members and staff which undermines all concerned by making them feel their difficult work and/or imaginative initiatives are not valued or supported as they should be. To address this issue would potentially generate greater cohesion, solidarity and activity within the union.";
    and
  • In paragraph 4 line 1, replace "DM instructs NEC to:" with "DM instructs NEC and the General Secretary to", then delete items a), b) and c), and replace them with "consider possible new ways in which union staff, activist officers at all levels and other activists, whether staff or freelance members, may be organised and/or trained, if necessary to help and support each other, and mediate problems that arise between colleagues. This would help sustain individual motivation and collective solidarity in economic conditions that tend to damage almost everyone involved in the union."
Note:

For clarity: if these amendments are accepted Motion 114 would read:

DM believes that the union's active lay members are valuable to the NUJ, and the union cannot function without their efforts in close collaboration with union staff, lay officers and with one another.

DM believes that the media economy is forcing NUJ members, staff and freelance, to live with greater insecurity, fiscal and therefore emotional, than for some decades. to address this issue would potentially generate greater cohesion, solidarity and activity within the union. This is naturally generating new levels of tension for everyone involved in the union which can provoke internal conflicts affecting conflicts between NUJ activist members and/or between activist members and staff which undermines all concerned by making them feel their difficult work and/or imaginative initiatives are not valued or supported as they should be.

Accordingly, DM instructs NEC and the General Secretary to consider possible new ways in which union staff, activist officers at all levels and other activists, whether staff or freelance members, may be organised and/or trained, if necessary to help and support each other, and mediate problems that arise between colleagues. This would help sustain individual motivation and collective solidarity in economic conditions that tend to damage almost everyone involved in the union.

Amendment (2) to motion 0: DM motions

Add at end: London Freelance Branch resolves to amend its motion 25 to Delegate Meeting thus:

Delete final paragraph and replace with:

DM therefore instructs the NEC to make available to members revised and clarified remits of the Professional Training Committee and of other Union training activies which ensure that:
  1. members with ideas and suggestions have a named contact point;
  2. there is a clear and transparent process through which training ideas are considered for adoption; and
  3. this process respects members' creators' rights in line with NUJ policy.

Amendment (3) to motion 0: DM motions

Add at end: London Freelance Branch resolves to amend its motion 151 to Delegate Meeting thus:

Replace all instances of "Entrench" with "Seek to entrench"; and of "Ensure" with "Seek to ensure"; and of "Safeguard" with "Seek to safeguard".

Note:

For clarity: if these amendments are accepted Motion 151 would read:

DM notes that Brexit will have substantial impacts on members who are non-UK EU citizens and on UK journalists working elsewhere in the EU and elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA), especially those on low incomes and freelance journalists with precarious working arrangements.

DM therefore instructs the NEC to work with other trades unions, particularly members of the Federation of Entertainment Unions, to:

  • Seek to entrench and protect the free movement rights and immigration status of British citizens (who are not citizens of another member state) elsewhere in the EU/EEA;
  • Seek to ensure that journalists and other creative workers from the UK and the remaining EU members states/EEA, can continue to travel and work visa-free and without the need to obtain prior permission to work, in the EU/EEA and the UK on and after Brexit;
  • Seek to entrench and protect the free movement rights and immigration status of all (non-British citizen) EU citizen/EEA national members who are in the UK prior to Brexit;
  • Seek to ensure that they and their family members can rely on acquired rights of free movement on and after Brexit;
  • Seek to ensure that they and their family members can complete periods of UK residence so as to acquire a right of permanent residence on current terms on and after Brexit;
  • Seek to safeguard full access to social security and to social assistance for EU citizen/EEA national members and their family members on the same basis as it is afforded to British citizens now and on and after Brexit;
  • Oppose any and all attempts, during Brexit negotiations and after Brexit, to weaken workers' rights in the UK, including labour market protection, employment rights, pension rights, access to social security and access to social assistance.

1. Speakers at Branch meetings
held over

London Freelance Branch welcomes the range of guest speakers arranged for branch meetings.

The Branch resolves to invite speakers to all meetings except the AGM and instructs the branch committee to follow the following principles as much as possible in selecting them:

  • There should be no more than two speakers at any meeting;
  • There must be a good balance of speakers in terms of gender, race and age;
  • If speakers are working journalists eligible for NUJ membership they either must be members or have applied for membership;
  • Speakers will have expenses reimbursed (including overnight stay if necessary) but not be paid a fee;

If branch business is pressing, the Chair may delay the start of the speeches but not beyond the limit of allowing one hour within the standing orders (that is, by suspending the SOs to extend the meeting for up to half an hour).

Motions for the regular January meeting

Emergency motion: Swindon strike
passed

This branch notes the following item on the NUJ news site on 2 January: "Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have begun two days of strike action. The industrial action was called as part of a dispute over low pay and working conditions at the Newsquest-owned regional daily newspaper."

The site also reports that 'The Swindon Chapel has been engaged in talks over pay with Newsquest senior management since November 2016, including talks brokered by the conciliation service ACAS earlier last year, during which members have been stonewalled at every level. Despite statements given to the press from Newsquest saying that meaningful talks with NUJ representatives would take place in a bid to avert the strike, the company has failed to respond to several invitations. Last month Newsquest announced that the group web editor, news editor and three content managers based at Swindon were at risk of redundancy in a restructure."

This branch therefore expresses its full support to members at the Swindon Advertiser, and notes that action at this time of yer can result in particular hardship.

2. Trauma summit
Held over to February

This branch resolves to support the Trauma Summit currently being planned by the union centrally with a sum of up to £450, this sum to be handed over upon conclusion of the event and the presentation of an account of its costs.

Amendment (A) to Motion 2:

Replace all with:

This branch resolves to support the Trauma Summit currently being planned by the union centrally. It looks forward to hearing details of the plans for the summit, and agrees to make a donation towards it, if necessary in advance of its taking place.

Amendment (B) to Motion 2:

In the motion replace the words
"an account of its costs." with the words
"its total accounted costs. Included in the request for LFB funding after the event shall be an account of other contributors to the event's expenses."

The motions archive - 2018

Motions for the Annual General Meeting in January

1. Branch Standing Orders
Passed (nem con, one abstention)

London Freelance Branch resolves to amend its Standing Orders as follows:

  1. In Standing Order 6:
    add after "negotiations officer": ", Training Officer, Social Media Officer,"; add after Editor: "and Deputy Editor".
  2. In Standing Order 7:
    1. In paragraph (a) delete "Annual" in line 1;
    2. In paragraphs (d) (e) and (f) delete the "A" in "ADM";
    3. Delete paragraph (j) and renumber paragraph (k) as (j).
  3. In Standing Order 16:
    Insert after "meetings" line 1: "shall be those in the NUJ Rule Book, Appendix D. Standing Orders"

Amendment (A) to Motion 1:
Passed (accepted by the mover, in fact)

Before item 1 insert a new item:

  • In Standing Order 6 replace the words
    "The Branch shall elect each year at the AGM the following:"
    with the words
    "The Branch shall elect each year at the AGM those Officers required by NUJ Rules in force and may elect the following:"
    and renumber the points in the motion.

Amendment (B) to Motion 1:
Passed, with the amendment that "sixteen" is replaced by "twenty"

Before item 1 insert a new item:

  • In Standing Order 6 replace the words
    "shall elect seven further Committee members"
    with the words
    "shall elect sufficient further Committee members to bring the total to sixteen"
    and renumber the points in the motion.

Amendment (C) to Motion 1:
Passed, with the amendment that "secretary" is replaced by "chair"

After the item currently numbered 3 append a new item:

  • In the Appendix, item 3, replace the words: "The secretary shall read the minutes of the previous meeting but no discussion shall be allowed except on a"
    with the words
    "The secretary shall ask whether any member proposes corrections to the minutes of the previous meeting and no discussion shall be allowed except on such a"
The motions archive - 2017 meetings

Motions for the November 2017 meeting:

Abbreviations in the following:

  • NUJ: National Union of Journalists.
  • LFB: London Freelance Branch of the NUJ.
  • TUC: Trades Union Congress - the national confederation of which the NUJ is a member.
  • DM: Delegate Meeting - the NUJ's policy-making gathering.
  • NEC: National Executive Council - the elected executive of the NUJ.

NUJ training
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes and welcomes many recent changes in the way the union organises training, with more courses being provided as trade union training while the scope of professional training has also developed.

DM notes that many working journalists, especially freelances, identify training needs during the course of their endeavours and that such individuals often have the training experience and skills to develop and deliver short courses.

DM therefore instructs the NEC to clarify the remits of the Professional Training Committee and how other training is organised so that members with ideas and suggestions have a named contact point and a clear indication of the process by which training ideas will be considered for adoption in a transparent way that respects creators' rights in line with NUJ policy.

Precarious workers
Passed

LFB resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes the passage at TUC 2017 of the NUJ's Motion 31 which calls on the TUC to "campaign and lobby for rights for all "dependent workers", noting that "workers who decide to work on a freelance basis must not be denied employment rights."

DM instructs the NEC to:

  • Engage fully in the review of trade union organisation agreed in TUC motion 72 of 2017, with specific reference to the "best model of trade unionism to influence the gig economy", sharing our experience of freelance organisation with the wider movement;
  • Work with fellow members of the Federation of Entertainment Unions and other organisations democratically controlled by precarious workers to lobby and campaign for the implementation of TUC motion 31 of 2017; and
  • Work with the above organisations to organise a conference to develop strategies for organising precarious workers and educating them about the rights that they do have.

Universal credit
Passed

LFB resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes that so-called "Universal Credit" is shaping up to be a disaster for low-paid and freelance workers in more ways than can be listed here and now.

DM notes that in many cases a disastrous loss of income support is connected with workers' income varying widely from month to month - a condition that journalists share with workers in the entertainment industries.

DM instructs the NEC to work with other Federation of Entertainment Unions members and our respective supportive Members of Parliament to overturn, delay, stymie and frustrate this regressive measure by any means necessary.

Support for members with trauma
Passed

London Freelance Branch notes our Chair's speech in favour of the TUC motion on trauma and related issues.

LFB resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes that members may suffer trauma as a result of their work. This does not happen only when journalists directly observe trama-inducing events or interview those who have suffered horrors. Increasingly, journalists are required to view and verify submitted reports, images and footage. The fact that the results of this latter are often labelled as "secondary trauma" does not imply that they are not serious.

DM notes the NUJ's support for Motion 61 passed at TUC 2017 calling on the TUC to "work with employers, whether government or private sector, to review the training and support for mental health and to make the necessary changes to ensure the best quality of support for all".

DM therefore instructs the NEC to:

  • prepare, in collaboration with organisations such as the Rory Peck Trust and Dart Centre Europe, written guidance for journalists on steps they can take to avoid trauma reactions and sources of qualified support if they do suffer such reactions;
  • publicise and distribute such advice to all members;
  • approach journalists' employers and clients to seek agreement on a code of practice for minimising such traumatic reactions and supporting those who suffer them;
  • approach journalists' employers and clients with a proposal for training sessions for staff and freelance journalists particularly at risk to help them minimise that risk; and
  • ensure that such training sessions are available affordably for members whose employers or clients fail to provide them.

Copyright
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes that copyright law is the foundation of the economic possibility of professional journalism and that the rights of authors (including illustrators and photographers) to be identified and to defend the integrity of our work are essential to defending ethical journalism.

DM notes that, particularly for freelance journalists, the imposition of unfair contract terms is the most serious barrier to enforcing those rights that we do have in our work under UK law.

DM further notes the well-funded campaigns attacking the concepts of copyright and authors' rights.

DM therefore instructs the NEC to:

  • support, through the NUJ Parliamentary Group and otherwise, the initiative by the Creators' Rights Alliance to bring forward a Private Members' Bill to deal with the worst aspects of contract abuse;
  • support, through the NUJ Parliamentary Group and otherwise, the full incorporation into UK law of the positive provisions in the European Union's Directive on copyright, with particular emphasis on those mandating transparent accounting for use of journalists' and other authors' work; and
  • support and publicise reports exposing the self-interest of monopolistic internet corporations that seek to undermine copyright and authors' rights.

Hazardous environment training
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM instructs the NEC to demand that employers and clients provide staff and freelances who are sent to work in hazadous environments with training in minimising risks when working in these.

DM further instructs the NEC to ensure that such training is available affordably to freelance members of the NUJ when their clients are not yet complying with this demand.

Retaining NUJ members
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM declares that the union's future depends on retaining existing members as well as it does on recruiting new ones, and that investigating the problems of members due to be lapsed works to the benefit of the members and the union alike.

DM welcomes the steps taken by the NEC towards implementing Motion 45 passed at the 2016 DM, which instructed the NEC to ensure that "a union-wide and union-funded scheme" to contact members due to be lapsed be implemented by the end of 2016.

DM also congratulates those branches that have run their own programmes and succeeded in retaining many of these in membership.

DM notes however that there is still not a comprehensive programme under which attempts are made to contact personally every member due to be lapsed, to discover their reasons for leaving, if intentional, or the problems responsible for the lapsing if not; and instructs the NEC to ensure that this is achieved by the end of 2018.

A world free of nuclear weapons
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes that the 2016 Delegate Meeting passed motion 124 to renew the anti-nuclear motion passed by the NUJ in 1985. The original 1985 motion also covered nuclear weapons.

DM notes that on 7 July 2017, 122 nation states voted for a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened to ratification by member stated on 20 September 2017. As a result of this process, ICAN, the umbrella movement of more than 400 NGOS worldwide was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017.

DM notes that this the most concrete international step towards nuclear abolition achieved for several decades. It also notes that the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty - the last such agreement signed by the government of the UK - urges its states parties to "negotiate in good faith" toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

In the light of the current dangerous stand-off between North Korea and the United States and recognising that the existence of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to the right to life of both the individual and humankind in general, DM instructs the NEC to press the governments of the UK and Ireland to sign the nuclear ban treaty, www.icanw.org/campaign-news/sign-the-nuclear-ban-treaty/

The UK, the EU and journalists
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM notes that Brexit will have substantial impacts on members who are non-UK EU citizens and on UK journalists working elsewhere in the EU and elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA), especially those on low incomes and freelance journalists with precarious working arrangements.

DM therefore instructs the NEC to work with other trades unions, particularly members of the Federation of Entertainment Unions, to:

  • Entrench and protect the free movement rights and immigration status of British citizens (who are not citizens of another member state) elsewhere in the EU/EEA;
  • Ensure that journalists and other creative workers from the UK and the remaining EU members states/EEA, can continue to travel and work visa-free and without the need to obtain prior permission to work, in the EU/EEA and the UK on and after Brexit;
  • Entrench and protect the free movement rights and immigration status of all (non-British citizen) EU citizen/EEA national members who are in the UK prior to Brexit;
  • Ensure that they and their family members can rely on acquired rights of free movement on and after Brexit;
  • Ensure that they and their family members can complete periods of UK residence so as to acquire a right of permanent residence on current terms on and after Brexit;
  • Safeguard full access to social security and to social assistance for EU citizen/EEA national members and their family members on the same basis as it is afforded to British citizens now and on and after Brexit;
  • Oppose any and all attempts, during Brexit negotiations and after Brexit, to weaken workers' rights in the UK, including labour market protection, employment rights, pension rights, access to social security and access to social assistance.

Lay activists
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to the NUJ's Delegate Meeting:

DM believes that the union's active lay members are valuable to the NUJ, and the union cannot function without their efforts in close collaboration with union staff, lay officers and with one another.

DM notes that in October 2017 Freelance Industrial Council sent a statement to NEC arising from significant decisions about two activist members' work for the union which had been taken without consulting and/or informing them. This failed to recognise and value their efforts as lay activists in areas of work which they had initiated or been involved in developing (partly paid, partly unpaid). These two examples led to others raising relevant, though diverse, experiences.

DM believes that with the media economy forcing NUJ members, staff and freelance, to live with greater insecurity, fiscal and therefore emotional, than for some decades, to address this issue would potentially generate greater cohesion, solidarity and activity within the union.

Accordingly, DM instructs NEC to:

  1. set up six-monthly general meetings between NUJ staff members, NEC members and other lay activists delegated by Industrial Councils and branches to address general and specific issues within and/or between all levels of people who do the union's work;
  2. designate a member of staff, changing on a monthly rota, as responsible for handling problems arising in this area of union-activist liaison; and
  3. request Industrial Councils and branches to elect a representative to bring relevant issues to the attention of the designated staff member and/or to the six-monthly general meetings.

Motions for the October 2017 meeting

None. We did agree some early nominations of members for Union bodies.

Motions for the September 2017 meeting

Precarious labour strikes back
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to offer formal support to the protest called by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (London EC4Y 8JX) at 9am Wednesday 27 September for the rights of precarious workers with Uber. The Branch resolves to take its banner if that proves feasible.

The Branch further resolves to write to the University of London in support of the outsourced workers who have balloted to strike and plan to do so on 27 September.

Pursuing precarity
Passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to follow-up on the "Precarious Working" conference of 13 March by publishing information, interviews etc/ in which the working lives of "gig" workers are recorded and, where problems in that working environment are identified, suggestions as to where help might be sought (e.g. from trade unions) are identified.

Initially, these will be published on www.londonfreelance.org.

Interviewing and editing will be carried out by the Assistant Editor of the Freelance, remunerated initially as for one issue of the newsletter.

A selection of the material will subsequently be produced as a special printed issue of the freelance, to be available for use by other unions that organise precarious workers, with the aim of helping to support our own members and those in other unions.

Contacting lapsing members
Passed

London Freelance Branch thanks member Karen Thomas for the successes she has achieved in helping recover the membership of branch members who faced being lapsed.

The branch confirms the views that the union's future depends on retaining existing members as much as it does on recruiting new ones, and that investigating the problems of members due to be lapsed works to the benefit of the members and the union alike.

LFB notes that it would be spending £3000 a year on Karen's work if it continued, and that the national union receives a greater sum from the continued subscriptions of the members who are persuaded to remain in the union.

LFB further notes that the 2016 Delegate Meeting praised branches such as LFB that have done this kind of work and instructed the NEC to "ensure that a union-wide and union-funded scheme along these lines is implemented by the end of December 2016 and earlier if possible." (Motion 45)

This motion was itself a repeat of motion 58 at the 2014 conference which was remitted to the NEC to decide on a course of action. But LFB notes that still there has been no action announced by the executive.

LFB notes that the NEC's Development Committee has initiated a voluntary programme with a phone bank of members calling those due to be lapsed, but LFB believes that his can never be as effective as a systematic professional programme.

The branch therefore urges the NEC to implement motion 45 right away.

Nuclear ban treaty
Passed

London Freelance Branch notes that in April 2016 NUJ Delegate Meeting passed motion 124 to renew the anti-nuclear motion passed by the NUJ in 1985, which states: "this meeting reaffirms its support for nuclear disarmament... It believes that journalists, along with other trade unionists and professional groups have a fundamental responsibility to promote peace and disarmament."

This branch also notes that on 7 July this year, 122 nation states voted for a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons, which was later adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations and will pass to ratification stage on 20 September 20 this year. More information on this can be found at www.icanw.org

Branch notes that this the most concrete international step towards nuclear abolition achieved for several decades. It also notes that the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty - the last such agreement signed by the government of the UK - urges its states parties to "negotiate in good faith" toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

London Frelance Branch therefore resolves, in the light of the current dangerous stand-off between North Korea and the United States and recognising that the existence of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to the right to life of both the individual and humankind in general, to requests the NUJ NEC to urge the UK government to sign the nuclear ban treaty: see www.icanw.org/campaign-news/sign-the-nuclear-ban-treaty/

Motions for the July 2017 meeting

Grenfell Tower
passed in the form below

London Freelance Branch expresses solidarity with the survivors of the Grenfell Tower and the community of North Kensington and pledges to find ways to offer long-term support.

The Branch calls on members to consider sharing their expertise or skills with the community and asks them to contact the Committee to help us liaise with support organisations on the ground to fill gaps in the long-term support provided.

People affected are understandably upset at some media coverage. The Branch resolves to approach the Union's Ethics Committee to offer assistance developing guidelines for journalists dealing with people suffering in disasters. Immediately, it will promote on www.londonfreelance.org a reminder to journalists of their obligations under the NUJ Code of Conduct.

The Branch resolves to make a donation of £500 for the survivors through thekandcfoundation.com

The wellbeing of journalists covering disasters
passed

London Freelance Branch urges the NUJ National Executive Council to campaign in conjunction with the NUJ Health & Safety Committee for both freelance and staff journalists working for small news organisations and those in the local sector to be given the necessary support to protect their mental well-being when covering such terrible events such as Grenfell Tower fire and the 2017 Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks.

Solidarity
passed in the form below

London Frelance Branch expresses solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the emergency services in carrying out their harrowing work dealing with the recent terror attacks in Manchester, on London Bridge and at Finsbury Park and the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, that claimed the lives of those living there.

We stand in solidarity with the FBU, Unite, The Royal College of Nursing and also members of the Police Federation.

Pursuing precarity (1)
remitted to the Committee

To follow up on our event on precarious working, London Freelance Branch resolves to start by organising online columns which are likely to include:

  • A Precarity Journal in which we interview gig workers to record their working lives - with a guarantee of anonymity if requested; and
  • An "agony aunt" responding to a range of problems presented by precarious workers.

Initially, these will be published on www.londonfreelance.org

Interviewing and editing will be carried out by the Assistant Editor of the freelance, remunerated initially as for one issue of the newsletter.

Pursuing precarity (2)
not taken (because the above was remitted)

A "best of" selection of the Precarity Journal and Agony Aunt will be produced as a special printed issue of the freelance, to be available for use by other unions that organise precarious workers. This will support discussuions with those other unions on how to organise precarious workers, alongside postings on other social platforms such as Instagram.

The quotes we have for printing such an edition are:

Quantity: 10,000 30,000
2-colour £1590 £1810
full colour £3350 £3720

The Committee shall therefore be empowered to decide on the best presentation up to the maximum above.

London Freelance Branch Banner
not taken (ran out of time)

London Freelance Branch currently has no usable banner for use on demonstrations, as a backdrop at conferences and so on. It therefore agrees to ask the branch committee to look into the cost of designing and producing such a banner and report back to the branch for approval to go ahead and commission the banner.

London Freelance Branch Banner: amendment

Insert at the beginning of the above motion:

There have been complaints that the current branch banner is too heavy to carry for long periods on demonstrations. Therefore we ask the branch to agree that representatives from the committee assess the weight and state of repair of the current banner. If they deem it necessary, to look into the costs of commissioning a replacement light weight banner replicating the current design.


Motions for the June 2017 meeting

Pursuing precarity
Remitted to committee

To follow up on our event on precarious working, London Freelance Branch should start by organising online columns which are likely to include:

  • A Precarity Journal in which anonymous gig workers record their working lives; and
  • An "agony aunt" responding to a range of problems presented by precarious workers.

There should be a special issue of the freelance, to be available for use by other unions that organise precarious workers, which will present a "best of" selection from the online columns. This will support discussuins with those other unions on how to organise precarious workers, alongside postings on other social platforms such as Instagram.

The cost will be approximately £750 for freelance editors' time in compiling this and a further £1500 for printing (subject to amendment for print-run).

Stop Murdoch Now - CPBF
passed

LFB again notes the appeal from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (to which the branch is affiliated) to fund its "Stop Murdoch Now" campaign.

LFB still supports the aim of this campaign, to stop Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox corporation buying up Sky TV. If the acquisition was allowed to go ahead it would increase the Murdochs' media power in the UK to an unacceptable level.

LFB notes that the CPBF is appealing for funds to pay for campaign materials and agrees to donate a further £100.


Motions for the May 2017 meeting

Stop Murdoch Now - CPBF
Passed: amended to £400

LFB notes the appeal from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (to which the branch is affiliated) to fund its "Stop Murdoch Now" campaign.

LFB supports the aim of this campaign, to stop Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox corporation buying up Sky TV. If the acquisition was allowed to go ahead it would increase the Murdochs' media power in the UK to an unacceptable level.

LFB notes that the CPBF is appealing for funds to pay for campaign materials and agrees to donate £100.


Motions for the March 2017 meeting

Confirming February's motions

This Branch formally confirms the votes taken at the February meeting to support the TUC Women's Committee, the film on reporting poverty, and the meeting on 6 March opposing the deportation of Amitt Bhatt.

Ivory Coast should not jail journalists

London Freelance Branch condemns the imprisonment of Ivory Coast journalist HAMADOU ZIAO of publication l'Inter/, by the Ivorian authorities. As well as the imprisonment of other Ivorian journalists: VAMARA COULIBALY of l'Inter & Soir Info/, YACOUBA GBANE of LG Infos & le Temps/, BAMBA FRANCK MAMADOU of Notre Voie/, JEAN BEDEL GNAGNO of Soir Info/ and FERDINAND BAILLY of LG Infos & Le Temps/.

The Branch understands that from 12 - 14 February 2017, journalist HAMADOU ZIAO was held in the Ivorian special forces camp at Agban, accused of placing "fake or bad news" in the Ivorian newspaper l'inter/. Following his two-day detention in the Agpan army camp HAMADOU ZIAO underwent trial without legal representation, before being released.

London Freelance Branch therefore reiterates the request made by its Committee to the National Union of Journalists' National Executive Council to urge the International Federation of Journalists to make further representations to the Ivorian President Alhassane Dramane Ouattara, reminding his government to respect the freedom of the press and to desist from imprisoning Ivorian journalists for carrying out their profession and to cease threatening independent newspapers over their coverage of the recent mutinies of the Ivorian army.


Motions for the February 2017 meeting

TUC Women's Committee
Passed, amended to £100

LFB agrees to donate £50 to the TUC Women's Committee to help pay for a celebration of International Women's Day on Wednesday 8 March.

LFB notes that although the one-off event is being partly sponsored by the TUC and by Thompsons Solicitors, there is still a shortfall. The donations are sought to pay for food, drink, speakers and live music at this event, which will bring together Women's Conference delegates and other trade unionists and friends of the trade union movement.

Film on reporting poverty
Passed

LFB agrees to donate £100 to the NUJ Manchester branch to help produce a film on reporting poverty.


Motions for the January 2017 meeting (including the Annual General Meeting)

Updating Branch Standing Orders

This Branch resolves to amend its Standing Orders as follows

  1. In Standing Order 1 delete the words
    The Secretary shall present minutes of the Annual General Meeting to the next Branch meeting held in the normal venue (i.e. usually March) for its determination that they are as full and true record of decisions.
    and replace them with
    The Secretary shall present minutes of the Annual General Meeting to the next Branch meeting held in a following month in the normal venue for its determination that they are a full and true record of decisions.
  2. In Standing Order 10 replace the words "Rule 18(1)" with the words "the Union's Rule on Discipline [currently Rule 24(f)iii]"
  3. In Standing Order 11 after the words "The Committee shall meet at least monthly" insert the words "(though it may vote not to meet in August or in December)"
  4. Delete the whole of Standing Order 14 and replace it with:
  5. Money motions shall not be considered unless published at www.londonfreelance.org /lfb /meetings.html#motions not less than one week before the meeting at which they are to be debated. All those members for whom the Branch holds a working email address shall be re-notified of the meeting and reminded of any such motions by email not less than one week before the meeting.

Branch action plan 2017

This Branch resolves to adopt the activity plan for 2017 that sets out general policy and specific actions for the year.

(Note: the draft is here (PDF) and amendments to it may be proposed and, if seconded, voted on at the AGM.)


Motions for the January meeting (ordinary meeting)

  • Note that the first two of these are "holding motions" written by the freelance editor solely to give sufficient notice that there will be a debate. They may be amended or withdrawn at the meeting.

Support members at Penguin/Random House

This Branch resolves to donate £500 to the Penguin/Random House chapel in support of its campaign against de-recognition of the union by management.

Support members at Newsquest South London

This Branch resolves to donate £500 to the Newsquest South London chapel in support of its campaign against massive job cuts.

Lapsing Co-ordinator

Background: The September 2016 branch meeting agreed to appoint a lapsing co-ordinator "for a single lapsing run, in order to trial the process. If it is successful, i.e. the financial benefit of retaining branch members exceeds the cost of paying someone to call them, then a motion will be put to branch in January, to appoint and pay a Lapsing Members' Coordinator until such time as a nationwide scheme is in operation." (The rate agreed was £150 a day for up to five days work.) Branch committee was to advertise the post and make the appointment in November. LFB member Karen Thomas was duly selected from four good candidates.

The result (at time of writing this motion) was that 13 members "unlapsed", 12 of them full members, securing up to £2160 in subs. (If some are on one-per-cent-rule reduced subs and the 13 average £100 per year the total would be £1200). So, given that the financial benefit exceeded the cost by a wide margin:

The motion: This Branch resolves to reappoint Karen Thomas as Lapsing Members' Coordinator at £150 a day for up to five days work each quarter until such time as a nationwide scheme is in operation.