FT chapel puts forward alternative NUJ recovery plan

Members of the Financial Times NUJ chapel have put forward an alternative recovery plan for the crisis-stricken union which does away with the need for redundancies.

And they have suggested that the union's problems are down to financial mismanagement noting that over the last decade membership income has increased by 30 per cent to more than £5m annually.

In May the NUJ revealed that it was in a "severe financial crisis" with just three-weeks' running costs in the bank. General secretary Michelle Stanistreet warned that the union could be insolvent by October and put forward a rescue plan calling for nine staff to be made redundant and subscriptions to increase by 5 per cent.

Now the FT ofchapel has put forward an alternative to the Stanistreet recovery plan and expressed concern that details of that plan were kept confidential until after it was voted through by the union's NEC.

The key points of the FT chapel's alternative recovery plan document are as follows:

"A thorough examination of the NUJ's accounts suggests the general secretary's statements about the union's financial crisis are long on rhetoric and short on facts.

"Membership income is up almost 30 per cent on the decade to more than £5m annually, and has fallen recently only by a small fraction.

"The immediate crisis has followed directly from a decision last year by the leadership to break with the financial management strategy established in 2009. The consequences of this decision have been financially very damaging.

"Spending by the union in many areas fluctuates widely from year to year as a result of one-off factors or lack of cost controls, suggesting strongly that there is scope for the budget to be trimmed significantly to avoid redundancies. For example, the union spent £123,000 on financial and business consultants in 2010-11.

"There is evidence of potentially significant anomalies in the union's accounts and of significant high spending on officials and lay officials' expenses. This document recommends stringent controls to ensure transparency at all levels of the union.

"The financial case for outsourcing the training department is weak, while the political case for retaining it is strong.

"There are many emergency measures that could be taken to cut expenditure immediately and avoid any redundancies."

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