NUJ votes to raise subscriptions, reject IPSO and abolish the post of deputy general secretary

The National Union of Journalists has voted to abolish the post of deputy general secretary following the resignation last year of Barry Fitzpatrick two years into his five-year-term.

This means the union will no longer have an elected deputy general secretary.

Instead existing union officials are to deputise for general secretary Michelle Stanistreet.

The decision was passed in a motion to the union’s delegate meeting in Eastbourne earlier this month.

Delegates also voted to increase subscriptions as follows:

  • Grade 1: Provincial newspapers, books, magazines outside London, independent local radio and for those employed outside the UK and the Irish Republic – from £13.49 a month to £15 a month
  • Grade 2: Press and public relations, magazines and advertising copywriters – from £17.09 a month to £18 a month
  • Grade 3: National newspapers, news agencies and broadcasting – from £23.44 a month to £25 a month.

On press regulation the delegate meeting passed a motion condemning newspaper publishers and editors in the UK for seeking to set up the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

The union condemned IPSO for taking limited third party complaints, for refusing to allow ordinary journalists to be involved in the Editors' Code Committee and for not setting up a libel disputes arbitration panel.

The union said it abhors the Royal Charter on press regulation but “welcomes the parliamentary cross-party agreement to set up a body to review the effectiveness of a press regulator and to provide benefits to those newspapers prepared to take responsible journalism seriously”.

The union agreed to campaign for a “for a single, self-regulatory system based on the model of the Press Ombudsman and Press Council which operates in Ireland”.

So the NUJ appears to continue to support a system of press regulation which is underpinned by law.

The delegate meeting also heard that the NUJ financial recovery plan is on course with the union recording a £218,000 surplus for the last financial year.

This was achieved by renting out office space at Headland House, the NUJ’s London office (pictured above), voluntary redundancies and a move to a defined contribution pension scheme for union staff.

The union has set itself a target of saving £250,000 a year for 10 years in order to amass a surplus of £2.5m (enough to keep it going for six months).

Paying members of the NUJ fell from 22,000 in 2012 to 20,700 last year.

More details on the NUJ's delegate meeting on April 10-13 are available here.

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