FT chapel calls for NUJ rescue plan rethink

The NUJ chapel at the Financial Times has called for the union's rescue plan to be suspended and claimed any compulsory redundancies could undermine its credibility.

The union is facing a severe financial crisis and has warned members that unless immediate action is taken, it could be insolvent by October.

But some factions within the union are unhappy at the perceived lack of consultation on general secretary Michelle Stanistreet's attempts to save the union from going bust.

This week the FT chapel passed a motion noting with 'alarm'the state of the NUJ finances.

'The FT chapel believes that consultation on this situation and these serious proposals has been inadequate,'it said.

It added: 'The use of compulsory redundancies undermines the credibility of the NUJ as a fighting trade union and should be abandoned."

Measures to slash the deficit include cutting total staff costs by £400,000, which is equivalent to around nine redundancies from its 47 staff, increasing subscriptions by 5 per cent and reducing daily freelance loss of earnings payments.

Here is the FT motion in full:

The FT chapel notes with alarm the General Secretary's comments about the state of the NUJ finances.

We note that the "Rescue Plan" presented to the NEC contains proposals that are bound to be of concern to all members by:

  • making nearly 20% of union staff redundant
  • seeking compulsory redundancies as part of this
  • ending annual conferences
  • abolishing the NUJ training department
  • proposing that the staff salary bill amounts to only 45% of subscription revenues.

We also note that the NEC was given a few days to consider this "Rescue Plan" and told not to discuss it with members.

The FT chapel believes that consultation on this situation and these serious proposals has been inadequate.

We believe our financial position should be discussed at a national meeting, preferably at this year's Delegate Meeting, and the "Rescue Plan" should be suspended until then.

We further believe:

  • the use of compulsory redundancies undermines the credibility of the NUJ as a fighting trade union and should be abandoned
  • that annual DMs on a cost-effective basis should be a priority
  • that recruiting members on the basis of campaigning, active opposition to wage cuts and redundancies holds the key to building union finances.

The FT chapel resolves:

  • that FT chapel officers should participate in the discussion about the union's financial future by examining the NUJ's accounts
  • to show our support for all staff at Headland House, in particular those who may be facing redundancy, and to thank them for their efforts in supporting our chapel and helping it to grow
  • to remind the NUJ leadership that any strategy for growth will depend upon our vital full-time staff - in particular, organisers, trainers and legal advisors - and that the success of any strategy to resolve the crisis and build the union demands full, open and democratic discussion with NUJ members and their elected representatives.

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