Subscriptions rate hike to 'safeguard future of the union'

The NUJ is running at a loss and has increased its subscription charges for all members by an average of £7.40 a year to make up for a downturn in funding.

Delegates were told that the "operational shortfall" for the year ending September 2006 of £23,000 was due to a lack of planning and reserve funds to call upon.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear (pictured above) said he was reluctant to increase subscription charges but the increases were essential to "safeguard the union's future"

He said: "Do you think I want to be standing here asking you to vote for arise in subscriptions? Sometimes being in the leadership you have to take hard decisions."

He admitted that he had opposed rises in subscriptions at previous ADMs as a delegate, but said the union was better now and was "rightly admired throughout the trade union movement for our fighting spirit". Dear said the next few months would be a period of "consolidation" of the union's finances.

Union treasurer Anita Halpin said: "Over the last 100 years our finances have had their ups and downs, but we survived. For the first time in a number of years, I have to report a deficit."She said meeting members' expectations had been "very difficult", but remained optimistic about the future of the union and said a "new generation of activists" now being recruited would ease the union's financial problems.

Halpin said the union's fighting fund (to help members take part in industrial action) is £1.14m and the branch fund is currently £220,000.

The union owns its London headquarters, Headland House, which is currently valued at £2.5m and is expected to gain in value due to the property boom currently sweeping the capital.

What you will be paying:

The NUJ has three pay scales for annual membership.

• Grade 1, for members in provincial newspapers, local radio and magazines: up from £144.32 to £150.

• Grade 2, for those in PR, freelancers and magazines: up from £182 to £189.

• Grade 3, for national newspapers, broadcast and agency journalists and NUJ staff, up from £250.40 to £260.

A motion was passed at the conference which ruled that new media journalists, who had previously been in grade one, should pay the same rate as their print colleagues, depending on the publication.

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