NUJ loses 2,500 members but turns shortfall into £200k surplus

Membership of the National Union of Journalists declined sharply from 32,000 in 2012 to 29,500 last year.

The union’s annual report reveals that the number of full-paying members of the union fell from 22,000 to 20,700. Membership of the NUJ has declined steadily since 2006, when it hit 40,000.

The loss in paying members was offset by a 5 per cent increase in subscription fees. This, together with other cost-cuts (including a reduction in staff from 48 to 41) meant the union reported a financial surplus for the year of £218,585.

This compares with a deficit in 2012 of £309,402.

In 2012 the union set itself a target of saving £250,000 a year for a decade in order to amass a surplus of £2.5m (enough to keep the union funded for six months).

The annual report also reveals that the NUJ’s staff pension fund has a deficit of £3.7m (compared with £5.1m in 2012).

The NUJ says about the membership decline in its annual report: “It’s likely this decline will continue for some time as broadcasters and newspapers carry on with cutting workforces.

“It’s ironic that the NUJ is bringing in thousands of pounds in dealing with  compromise agreements for those of our members losing their jobs. It’s a figure we’d gladly see disappear from the accounts if it meant our members were continuing in employment.

“There has been some good news, however, on the recruitment front since the launch of the new website in August 2013…

“In the four-month period from 22 August to 16 December we had more than 1,100 online joiners, including approximately 500 students.”

According to the UK Labour Force Survey the number of people in the UK describing themselves as journalists increased from 65,000 in 2012 to 70,000 in 2013. 

The annual report also reveals that the general secretary Michelle Stanistreet was the biggest claimer of expenses among the full-time officials of the union and president Barry McCall claimed the most expenses of anyone on the NEC.

In addition to her £64,389 salary (which was static year on year) Stanistreet’s expenses totalled £20,902 including: £2,146 for phone-calls and broadband, £1,478 subsistence, £2,625 for childcare,£1,943 for entertaining and hospitality and £11,763 for travel.

McCall claimed £10,904 including: £5,325 for travel, £2,415 for accommodation, £970 subsistence and £2,196 for loss of earnings.

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