London Freelance Branch meetings

FROM JUNE 2022, London Freelance Branch will hold hybrid meetings - accessible in person at the Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (map) and virtually via Zoom. Meetings continue to be at the usual time: 6:45pm sharp on the second Monday of each month (except, for the moment, August).

In order to help the Branch Committee plan room bookings, please complete this survey on how you'd like to attend.

Members will still be able to attend virtually via the Zoom platform over your laptop, desktop computer, tablet or other internet-enabled device. Details of how to sign up for Zoom are here. We send links shortly before the meeting: if you've misplaced yours or are having trouble entering the meeting please contact the secretary directly.

More details on the operation of hybrid meetings will follow.

[NUJ London Freelance Branch]

Please check back here - meeting subjects and speakers inevitably change from time to time. Members who have supplied a working email address to the NUJ centrally get a monthly email alert and virtual Freelance listing. Branch training courses are listed separately here.

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.

There is information here on how the agendas for Branch meetings are put together.

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, on the last Thursday of every third month from 6pm. We currently plan that the July gathering will be face-to-face If you have recently joined, or transferred into, London Freelance Branch of the NUJ you should receive an invitation in email.

Date Speaker/subject
Mon Jan 10 Annual General Meeting 2022: elected a new Committee and amended the rules
Thu Jan 27 Meeting for members new to freelancing online, 6pm
Mon Feb 14 How to use Substack newsletters
Chris Mullin on protecting sources' confidentiality
Mon Mar 14 Support for members who are exiles (and see some earlier suggestions and a call for volunteers).
We also heard from a member in Moscow.
Mon Apr 11 Pay the creator - the Creators' Rights Alliance campaign, including a challenge to benefit rules
We also heard from Chris Mullin on his battle to protect his sources.
Thu Apr 28 Meeting for members new to freelancing online, 6pm
Mon May 09 Reporting on nuclear fears and hopes and an update on Julian Assange
Mon Jun 13 Vivienne Francis of the Refugee Journalism Project
Mon Jul 11 Andrew Don on How I earned 'enough to live reasonably comfortably' writing for b2b titles.
Plus a tribute to Branch member Dom Phillips, murdered in Amazonia
Thu Jul 28 Meeting for members new to freelancing
August No meeting
Mon Sep 12 Steve Nowottny, Editor of Fullfact.org on its work
Mon Oct 10 Marc Wadsworth on the Windrush generation and other matters relating to Black History Month
Thu Oct 27 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon Nov 14

This will be a hybrid meeting - members can either attend in person in the Bertrand Russell room at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (Tube: Holborn) or join virtually via Zoom. Whichever way you join, it starts at the usual time: 6:45pm.

Our speaker is Hollywood reporter Mel Lambert, also LFB's own Membership Officer, who will join us via Zoom from Burbank, California to tell us about his career covering Tinseltown.

We will also be voting on several important Branch motions. These include a proposal on new forms of NUJ membership to accommodate the increasing number of people who are no longer able to earn a full-time living from journalism and who have no choice but to take other paid work outside our industry as well; proposals to strengthen the Union's work on media ethics; and a proposal to consult the membership over the Union's partnership with Google.

This is the last chance the Branch has to vote on presenting motions to the NUJ Delegate Meeting.

Thu Nov 24 Freelances versus the economic crisis special event
Mon Dec 12 Almost certainly a social event
Mon Jan 09 2023 Annual General Meeting 2023

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

Motions for the November meeting

Delegate Meeting motion: NUJ membership

This DM notes that the need for potential members to seek non-NUJ eligible work in addition to NUJ-eligible work is, in all likelihood, increasing.

It also notes that the rule requiring potential full members to earn more than half their income from NUJ-eligible work ("the 50 per cent rule") is highly discriminatory and favours those with alternative sources of income (spouses, partners, parents, "private" incomes) over those forced to seek non-journalistic work to supplement income from journalism.

This DM therefore instructs the NEC to change the rules to accommodate this situation by abandoning the "50 per cent rule" and substituting for it a simple financial criterion, such as is used by other trade unions with significant freelance memberships. This would mean retaining the category of temporary membership, but insisting that temporary members become full members once they have met the above-mentioned financial criterion.

This DM also instructs the NEC, in order to obviate the need to keep re-examining the level of income at which this full-membership criterion is reached, it should be set at 25 per cent of the appropriate National Minimum Wage (as stipulated by national laws, or age-related criteria).

All other classes of membership to remain unchanged.

The NEC is also instructed, in drafting this rule change, to ensure that the integrity of the press card is maintained.

Amendment to the above

Omit final sentence as unnecessary.

Delegate meeting motion: Media ethics
Withdrawn in favour of the following

This Branch resolves to present the following motion to DM 2023:

This DM believes that all journalism should, regardless of its origin, its language, or the geography of the platform, be neutral; or if not should declare its position.

DM therefore proposes a project to analyse and comment on reporting. The project should highlight any violation of media ethics. Comment from a neutral body like the NUJ with a reasonable voice to tell the public that this does not meet journalism standards will make a huge difference.

DM instructs the NEC to develop, in collaboration with the Ethics Council and other parties concerned with media ethics, a project - provisionally titled the "Integrity Forum" - that should:

  • Monitor media headlines and content and ensure it is not biased or controlled.
  • Receive links and reports from journalists alerting and publishing reports that they feel offend or neglect media ethics.
  • Hold an urgent timed forum meeting in instances where breaking news is affected by any concerns of violating media ethics.
  • When needed, publish recommendations and guides generally about detected terminologies or cases that are observed in the long or short term concerning violations of media ethics.
  • Publish a link on the NUJ website to receive links and open comments for journalists to discuss why a report is or is not violating the integrity of media ethics.
  • Highlight any confirmed violation of media ethics, where appropriate issuing a press statement.

Any journalist, especially those in conflict zones, should be able to report such a violation, and they should be able to report anonymously. This should be considered a long-term project and needs to be sustainable. Instant engagement with journalists is the main priority, especially on social media.

This DM hopes that the project can be launched before DM 2025 and instructs the NEC to report to that DM on its progress and success.

Delegate Meeting motion: Ethics Council

This DM believes that the NUJ should have a higher input into the public discourse on media issues. In all the discussions on press and internet regulation, on fake news and disinformation, the voice of the working journalist is barely heard.

DM believes that the union body responsible for professional matters, the Ethics Council, should have an expanded remit to boost this process. At present the council generally considers the standards of particular examples of journalism only in response to complaints and DM believes it should have a freer hand.

The Ethics Council needs the power to investigate particular instances and areas of journalism outside the disciplinary context and produce reports that can be publicised in the interest of raising professional standards.

It should have the power to do so at the request from any established NUJ body – chapel, branch or national –but not from individuals. Any union member involved in the production of the work concerned shall have the right to be consulted in the exercise.

DM therefore instructs the NEC to amend rule 17 (a) to give effect to the principle that the Ethics Council shall have the power to research areas or instances of journalism at the request of other bodies in the NUJ and produce reports.

Delegate Meeting motion: Google

This branch resolves to submit the following motion to the next National Union of Journalists Delegate Meeting:

This DM notes that serious concerns have been raised at Branch level about the significant copyright, reputational, and ethical damage that the NUJ's partnership with Google brings, as well as the actual depth of the NEC relationship with this internet giant.

This DM instructs the NEC to publicly consult with the membership on the nature and merits of the current relationship and, if necessary, to terminate any existing relationship or contracts with Google.

Delegate Meeting motion: Organisation

This Delegate Meeting is concerned at the effect of the COVID lockdowns on the functioning of the NUJ’s democratic structure.

The ending of face-to-face meetings prevented direct communications between members, and at the same time the decision to remove contact information for those elected to union posts from the NUJ website made it virtually impossible for members to get in touch with any others not in their own chapels or branches.

DM fears that this combination of factors could seriously damage the development of the next generation of union activists.

DM believes members should be encouraged to attend face-to-face meetings as long as they feel safe, but it also recognises the great value of online conference technology to enable those unable to take part in person to attend. DM therefore declares that hybrid meetings, with the participation of members both present and absent, should be organised whenever possible – including DM itself.

DM instructs the NEC to install online conference technology in all NUJ offices and encourage members to use it for meetings; also to encourage branches and other bodies to hire venues with such equipment, subsidising the extra cost if necessary.

To encourage participation in union activities DM instructs the NEC to expand online communication with the membership, with greater use of social media and the introduction of interactive elements in the NUJ website.

Further DM instructs the NEC to restore to the NUJ website the listings with contact information of branch officers and holders of all national union positions, subject to requiring the appropriate consent from the members concerned.

Branch motion: Freelances versus the economic crisis

LFB has agreed to presenting a seminar titled "Freelances Versus The Economic Crisis: a tips-and-info exchange for LFB members and other experts" - which will be presented by Zoom, on Thursday 24 November from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, free to NUJ members. LFB now further agrees to offer £100 to each of up to six invited speaker as ex gratia payment for their work on the night and in preparing background and materials (maximum event cost £600).

Branch motion: Salon - Nuclear War, back from the brink

Nuclear war is just one miscalculation away. Vladimir Putin is currently threatening nuclear war in the Ukraine and other leaders around the world are testing their nuclear fire power. The recent failure of this summer’s Non-Proliferation Review conference adds more gloom to the mix. But it doesn’t have to be like this. No state supports the idea of "chemical weapons" or "biological weapons" or "cluster munitions" deterrence because we have banned these dangerous WMDs and consigned them to a dark past. Nuclear weapons have not yet been banned but motions have been passed by the NUJ in support of the disarmament (2021, 2018 and 2016) – hence the branch would like to host a Salon to discuss nuclear risks and what can be done about them. The Salon event will take place on Wednesday 15 February.

The format of the Salon would be an online webinar only.

This will be a panel discussion. Speakers are to be confirmed but will include speakers from a wide range of fields with knowledge on and responses to nuclear and climate risks.

The event is expected to generate a small amount of income rather than cost money, since we will invite speakers to speak for free on this important topic. The ticket prices are set deliberately low in order to encourage people to attend and include a student and new- member discount.

This Branch resolves to support event and to underwrite of a small cancellation charge of £105 if cancellation is needed.

Nominations to Union bodies

The following Council and Committee seats are to elected by the membership:

  • National Executive Council (NEC) - Freelance seat (1)
  • NEC - London seats (4)
  • Freelance Industrial Council (6)
  • Ethics Council (1)
  • Health & Safety Committee (1)

The following seats are elected at Delegate Meeting

  • Appeals Tribunal (up to 9)
  • Disabled Members' Council (up to 7)
  • Equality Council (up to 7)
  • IFJ Triennial Congress (up to 4)
  • Journalist Advisory Board (up to 7)
  • 60+ Committee/Pensioners' Parliament (up to 6)
  • NUJ Extra trustees (up to 5)
  • Professional Training Committee (up to 6)
  • Standing Orders Committee (up to 5)
  • TUC Delegation (up to 3)
  • Women's TUC Delegation (up to 3)

The process is that the Branch may nominate any NUJ member for any of these seats. In the event of there being more nominations from the NUJ as a whole than there are seats, an election is held - by post for the first group, and among elected delegates to DM for the second.

Check back on 14 November in case the Editor has mis-categorised any seats.

In addition, there are two (2) vacancies for London seats on Freelance Industrial Council (FIC) and if we nominate people to these they may be able to attend FIC meetings between now and Delegate Meeting.

The Branch also needs to elect its delegation to DM 2023.

The motions archive - 2022

Motions for the October meeting

All were held over until November, and some were rewritten.

Delegate Meeting motion: Integrity Committee
replaced - see November

This Branch resolves to submit the following motion to Delegate Meeting 2023:

This DM instructs the National Executive Council to establish an Integrity Committee to promote best practice in reporting in the UK.

An amendment will follow with more details.

Nuclear salon
replaced - see November

This Branch resolves to organise a Salon event on reporting nuclear issues.

Given the current crises in the Ukraine as well as the threats to this country and the recent failure of the Non-Proliferation Review conference plus the motions passed by the NUJ in support of disarmament (2021, 2018 and 2016), the Branch will host a Salon event to discuss reporting nuclear risks and what can be done about it. Following on from the successful Salon on climate change reporting the salon event would be organized within the next three months, depending on availability of speakers.

The format of the Salon would be hybrid with the hope being that it could be held at Conway Hall at the end of November or early next year. Current dates being explored with Conway Hall are 24 November (The Brockway room is available, which seats 81); or Thursday 11 January 2023 or Thursday 19 January. (the Brockway room is also available then, seats 81). A draft list of speakers include:

  • Duncan Campbell (on Zoom)
  • Matthew Syed
  • NGO Expert Speaker on Climate Change and Nuclear Risks (combined)
  • Survivor from Hiroshima living in the UK (on zoom)
  • Moderator: Elizabeth Ingrams (writer on nuclear issues and Branch member)

The predicted total cost is £972 and a sold-out event at £12 per person would have income of £972. The motion instructs the Branch to underwrite the event in the event of cancellation. If, two weeks beforehand no more than 40 tickets have been sold, then we would need to cancel the event and move it to next year. The risk would be therefore likely be any cancellation fees from Conway Hall.

Amendment to the above

Delete all and replace with:

Salon - Nuclear War, back from the brink

Nuclear war is just one miscalculation away. Vladimir Putin is currently threatening nuclear war in the Ukraine and other leaders around the world are testing their nuclear fire power. The recent failure of this summer’s Non-Proliferation Review conference adds more gloom to the mix. But it doesn’t have to be like this. No state supports the idea of ‘chemical weapons’ or ‘biological weapons’ or ‘cluster munitions’ deterrence because we have banned these dangerous WMDs and consigned them to a dark past. Nuclear weapons have not yet been banned but motions have been passed by the NUJ in support of the disarmament (2021, 2018 and 2016) – hence the branch would like to host a Salon to discuss nuclear risks and what can be done about them. The Salon event will take place on Thursday 19 January.

The format of the Salon would be an online webinar only.

This will be a panel discussion. Speakers are to be confirmed but will include Duncan Campbell as well as other speakers on nuclear history, threats and climate threats.

The event is expected to generate a small amount of income rather than cost money, since we will invite speakers to speak for free on this important topic. The ticket prices are set deliberately low in order to encourage people to attend and include a student and new- member discount.

This Branch resolves to support event and to underwrite of a small cancellation charge of £105 if cancellation is needed.

Google
not taken

This branch resolves to call on the NUJ to terminate its current partnership with Google.

This motion follows on from our previous motion calling for a debate with union members over the current partnership with Google, a motion which passed with overwhelming support - 21 in favour, only 3 against, 4 abstentions of those present on the 12 September 2022 branch meeting - and ignited significant debate, showing how controversial members feel this partnership to be.

We now understand that the partnership with Google has been ongoing for a number of years and it appears there has never been any consultation with NUJ members regarding this partnership.

We believe this partnership should be terminated at the earliest opportunity (which we appreciate may have to be after any agreed forthcoming training) for a number of reasons:

Firstly, we believe this relationship with Google has significant costs to the NUJ’s reputation for integrity, impartiality, independence and working always and only for its members.

Secondly, we are also extremely concerned about the precedent it may set for NUJ members' copyright, given Google's questionable copyright practices beyond news gathering, journalism and publishing norms, including a lack of enforcement and routine indexing of journalists' content without permission, which appears entirely self-serving. This is crucial at a time when the profession stands under unprecedented threat, with freelancers and contract journalists amongst the most vulnerable.

Thirdly, we understand that the training Google offers is entirely self-serving, as we understand that it merely trains journalists to better use Google. Rather than offering genuinely useful training, partnerships such as these actually serve to greenwash Google's PR budgets, covering up much of the significant damage the company has done to high-quality, independent and impartial journalism and news-gathering.

Fourthly, we have deep concerns about the severe lack of editorial or journalistic oversight Google has towards its commercial decisions. In particular, its apparent preference for publicising attention-grabbing, sensationalised and sometime factually inaccurate content over balanced, nuanced and well-researched reporting, and the dangerous potential for this to be used to control narratives and promote agendas.

Finally, we believe that NUJ members would gain far greater benefit from a range of alternative training, provided by fellow journalists, educators or by less controversial companies who could provide training that is more independent, less self-serving and with more practical benefit for members.

Motions for the September meeting

Strike solidarity
passed nem con

This Branch expresses its support for staff journalists who have voted to strike at Reach plc and at National World titles in Scotland. The Branch also takes note of the description by Jon Harris, chairman of the National Association of Press Agencies, of freelance rates at Reach as "paltry and outdated".

The Branch encourages members to join pickets, the next in London probably being at Canary Wharf on 14 September.

The Branch resolves to donate £200 to the National Union of Journalists hardship fund for members affected by Reach strikes.

It further resolves to donate £50 to an equivalent fund for National World journalists should this become necessary.

Cost of living crisis
passed nem con, as proofread

This Branch notes that inflation rose to seven per cent in March 2022. This is the official figure for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Bank of England (BoE) Monetary Policy Report for May 2022. The BoE further predicts that inflation will continue to rise, with a peak of over 10 per cent in the forth fourth quarter of 2022. CPI is considered by most trades unionists to understate the actual affects of price changes on individuals.

This Branch notes that few adults currently in the workforce have experience of double-digit inflation – the UK last having been at this level in 1980/81, and for a sustained period in the previous decade. The shock to household budgeting is consequently without precedent in most workers' lifetimes.

This Branch notes that freelance workers in general have suffered some of the hardest years on record as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite Self Employed Income Support payments providing a lifeline for some freelances, most have depleted savings and have delayed essential expenditure as a result of the pandemic.

This Branch notes that most major news platforms have increased their freelance fees little, it if at all, in the past 20 years.

This Branch calls on the Union charity NUJ Extra to give close attention to the effects of this crisis on freelance members, particularly those in greatest need. This branch encourages the NUJ Extra trustees to consider creating a special package to help those in greatest need, in the spirit of the package that was created to help members through the pandemic.

This Branch resolves to donate an additional £200 per month to NUJ Extra to assist with the expected increased costs that the Charity will be meeting.

This Branch calls on the NUJ Freelance Industrial Council to initiate a campaign to shame news platforms into meaningfully increasing freelance rates.

This Branch calls on its members to support a campaign that the NUJ nationally should initiate, with the aim of achieving fair pay for all freelance news providers, collective bargaining for freelances across news platforms, and a commitment from publishers that fees keep pace with inflation.

The NUJ and Google
passed 21 : 3 with 4 abstentions, as amended

This Branch calls on the NUJ National Executive to publicly debate the merits of the recently-announced partnership with Google and then to poll consult the membership on whether we as a union should still proceed with the programme.

Firstly, this Branch believes that the National Executive has overstepped its mandate announcing this partnership without consulting the whole membership.

Secondly, this Branch believes that the relationship with Google has significant costs to the NUJ and may not be in best interest of the aims and ethics of our organisation. In particular we have deep concerns around potential reputational damage to the NUJ - given the severe lack of editorial or journalistic oversight Google has towards its commercial decisions. Furthermore, we are also extremely worried about the precedent it sets towards our members' copyright enforcement, give Google's routine flouting and indexing of journalists' content without their permission.

Finally, this Branch believes that there are potentially better and more independent partners the NUJ could engage with to learn and update journalists digital and management skills that have not been considered or consulted.

Julian Assange
passed nem con

This Branch reminds members of the attempts by the US to extradite Julian Assange to face 18 charges. These charges are for acts that most journalists consider part of their daily work – seeking confidential sources who have witnessed wrong doing, and helping those sources to discreetly pass them information.

The Branch encourages members to attend the protest opposing Assange's extradition on 8 October.

Support for exiled journalists and others
passed

This Branch expresses its gratitude for and welcomes the Journalists' Copyright Fund's grant of £5000 for use in the Branch plans to help our non-English-as-first-language members, including asylum-seekers, refugees and others to develop their skills in English and the business of freelancing in the UK (JCF will deliver the grant in two equal tranches, immediately and in six months from date of award, so January 2023.)

The Branch application suggested and the JCF's grant conditions specified that the money would be ringfenced within the LFB's training fund – a separate account from the main LFB account (both are held at the NUJ's preferred bank, Unity Trust).

Proposals arising:

  1. That LFB confirms that, in accordance with the JCF's conditions, the grant will a) be ringfenced within the LFB training fund b) be spent on "access, editing and mentoring help expenses" c) and that LFB will provide JCF with a "short update" on expenditure every 6 months (starting in January 2022);
  2. That LFB understands the ringfenced grant fund will be spent on small subsidies to individuals e.g. who need to hire a branch colleague to subedit their work or who would like more general guidance from a mentor (mentoring to be paid, if requested, at the NUJ “freelance loss of earnings allowance” rate of £50 per day);
  3. That the Branch committee and other colleagues start to put the support plans into action – and spend the fund as appropriate – during the next month via information and publicity in the Freelance, on the branch website and via social media;
  4. That oversight be conducted by i) the branch treasurer, without whom no branch expenditure takes place ii) branch committee at monthly meetings iii) the branch officers between meetings iv) branch via monthly meeting reports v) NUJ HQ finance office via branch quarterly and annual reports vi) Journalists' Copyright Fund via our 6-monthly reports. However, the names of individual grant recipients will not be publicly reported.
Motions for the July meeting

Dom Phillips
passed 34:1

This Branch notes with horror and anger the murder in June 2022 of LFB member Dom Phillips, and indigenous culture activist Bruno Pereira with whom he was travelling.

This Branch notes that Dom Phillips was among the most innovative, determined and principled reporters. His work not only shone a light on the environmental and humanitarian tragedy that is being played out in Amazon, but brought some relief to the indigenous communities that he supported.

This Branch pledges to support efforts to create a suitable memorial to Dom Phillips, and, in consultation with Phillip's family, aid efforts to keep his work alive.

This Branch notes that Phillips' murder occurred against the backdrop indifference towards or hostility to those who work to protect Basil's natural environment promoted by the country's reactionary president, Jair Bolsonaro.

This Branch further notes that Phillips' murder is further evidence of the danger faced by journalists while undertaking their work. This Branch resolves to support union-wide efforts to promote journalists' safety.

Powerlands, indigenous people and climate breakdown
not reached

London Freelance Branch notes that:

  1. Climate breakdown presents an existential threat to life on our planet.
  2. Indigenous communities around the world have cultivated ways of living that protect and maintain ecosystems for centuries.
  3. Indigenous peoples have experienced genocide, enclosure and erasure through colonial invasions and violent expropriation of land by states and corporations for centuries.
  4. Indigenous peoples are still experiencing oppression and colonisation due to a prevalent capitalist, extractive, white supremacist model of viewing land, water and life as commodities.
  5. Many indigenous peoples have resisted this model and continue to strive to live in balance within ecosystems which enhance, protect and support planetary health, but face existential threats and violence from states and corporations seeking to control resources.
  6. Indigenous peoples facing this violence are often unresourced, unheard, and unseen within media, political, and social movement circles.

This branch believes:

  1. That indigenous communities should be recognised as peoples with rights.
  2. That indigenous communities should be supported to have their narratives and needs heard and met.
  3. That the practices and approaches of indigenous communities can educate us about our role and relationship with the earth and one another.
  4. That documentary film making by affected indigenous people representing themselves plays a key role in challenging the erasure and marginalisation of indigenous peoples.

This branch resolves:

  1. To donate £200 to support the platforming and distribution of Powerlands - a documentary made by young award-winning indigenous Navajo film maker IveyCamille Manybeads Tso - which represents a multitude of indigenous communities around the world struggling for a way of life that doesn't harm people and planet.
  2. To promote and support local screenings of Powerlands in our community and networks.
Motions for the June meeting

In memory of Shireen Abu Akleh
passed nem con amended to £400

London Freelance Branch resolves to donate £200 toward the costs of a memorial service for the Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, killed on the outskirts of Jenin refugee camp in the occupied Palestinian territories on 11 May.

Amendment

The service, initiated by former Branch chair Pennie Quinton, will take place at the Journalists' Church - St Bride's, off Fleet Street - at 11:00am on Tuesday 28 June. The Branch contribution will go towards costs such as licensing the music used in the service. Any surplus will be donated to the Rory Peck Trust for the benefit of freelance journalists in conflict zones.

Disappearance of Dom Phillips (late notice motion)
passed nem con

Given the recent disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous rights official Bruno Pereira while researching violations of first nations' rights in the Amazonian region of Brazil, London Freelance Branch request the NUJ National Executive to urge the Foreign Office to ask the Brazilian government to speed up the search for these missing persons; to conduct a transparent investigation into their disappearance; and to bring the real culprits to justice.

Motions for the May meeting

Russia Today (amended motion)
passed

London Freelance Branch calls on the NEC (National Executive Council) to oppose the administrative harrassment of RT (Russia Today) and other Russian media that severely restricts their ability to publish their views. As a country if we believe in freedom of speech it must include hearing what we disagree with. In this particular case the UK government and the EU are seeking to prevent their citizens from hearing the other side of the story and in the UK case, preventing its own citizens from using the RT platform to express their own opinions. This behaviour undermines the trust of citizens in their government as it implies there may be matters our own government does not wish us to learn. RT's audience share is miniscule compared to the government and the national media audiences so it is difficult to see what they have to fear. It effectively undermines any complaint we may seek to make against any other country seeking to control the press, and opens us to allegations of hypocrisy..The UK should not seek to effectively restrict RT's access to our audiences and should encourage others not to do so either.

Motions for the April meeting

Journalists’ safety fund for Ukraine
passed as amended - nem con

This Branch resolves to donate £200 £500 to the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund for Ukraine..

Room hire and meeting arrangements
passed as amended - nem con
(exact amendment text to be confirmed)

This Branch resolves to return to in-person branch meetings plan for in-person branch meetings and hybrid meetings, possibly alternating with all-online meetings, at the soonest possible safe point. It commissions the Branch Committee to seek out and arrange a suitable venue, ideally with the facilities for "hybrid" meetings (online and real life blended). It also commissions the committee to research and organise the appropriate catering arrangements for such meetings. Costs will, as in the past, be taken from the Branch management account.

Motions for the February meeting

Working Class Movement Library
passed

This branch resolves to donate £100.00 to the Working Class Movement Library in Manchester.

It notes that the branch has made regular donations to the library over the years.

Chris Mullin
passed

This branch condemns West Midlands Police for its demand that former MP Chris Mullin identify the confidential sources for his investigation of the Birmingham bombings of 1974.

That investigation was a courageous exercise in journalism that led directly to the release of the six men unjustly jailed for the bombings and would not have been possible without confidential information.

LFB congratulates the union leadership for the support it is giving Chris Mullin and agrees to back his case against the surrender of his confidential data, in line with longstanding NUJ policy, in any way he requests.

NUJ Extra
passed

This branch notes that a monthly standing order making a payment of £100.00 to the NUJ's charity NUJ Extra was made regularly during 2021, but came to an end in November 2021.

It resolves to reinstate that standing order, starting this month, February 2022.

Standing Order amendments
passed

This Branch resolves to amend its Standing Orders thus:

SO2

Delete third sentence. Replace with: "The agenda shall be agreed at the start. Any subsequent change to the agenda must be agreed by the meeting."

SO10

Delete third sentence. Replace with: "The Chair of a branch meeting shall have a single vote, with a casting vote only in the event of a tie in which s/he has not voted. If there is a tie in which the chair has already voted, the motion shall be declared 'not carried'."

Monthly remuneration increases
passed

London Freelance Branch remunerates key members for their contributions to the smooth running of branch functions. Although, historically, these costs have been increased on a yearly basis to offset inflation, the last raise occurred in 2015/16. It is now time to address these shortfalls.

The recommended amounts are based on an analysis of how long it has been since these rates were last reviewed, combined with the cumulative effects of inflation over that period, using a Bank of England algorithm located here.

While our key workers donate their time willingly, we should not take advantage of their magnanimity; they deserve to be compensated at a reasonable monthly rate. Their work is invaluable for every branch members, and to the wider community of freelance journalists.

The Remuneration Sub-committee recommends that:

  • The current £750 paid jointly to Freelance co-editors Matt Salusbury and Mike Holderness should be increased to £900 per month.
  • ·
  • The current £300 paid to social-media editor Nicci Talbot should be increased to £350 per month.

Remuneration back pay
passed

London Freelance Branch remunerates key members for their contributions to the smooth running of branch functions; the last increase occurred in 2015. These recommended amounts are based on an analysis of how long it has been since these rates were last reviewed, combined with the cumulative effects of inflation over that same period, using a Bank of England algorithm located here.

Such back pay is important, we consider, because their workload has increased, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their monthly rate has been eroded by inflation. While our key workers donate their time willingly, we should not take advantage of their magnanimity. Their work is invaluable for every branch members, and to the wider community of freelance journalists.

The Remuneration Sub-committee recommends that:

  • Freelance co-editors Matt Salusbury and Mike Holderness should jointly receive back pay for the past 69 months in the amount of £7245.
  • Social-media editor Nicci Talbot should receive back pay for the past 49 months in the amount of £2058.

NUJ Extra
passed

This branch instructs the outgoing treasurer to set up a new standing order for £100 a month to NUJ Extra, to be taken from the branch's management account.