An outbreak of consensus
THIS YEAR'S NUJ Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) was fairly non-controversial, good-humoured and freelance-friendly. Copyright seems to be well and truly accepted across the Union as the important issue that it is, with the General Secretary giving a well-received report on the work of Freelance Industrial Council, the new Copyright Committee and the two conferences (Authors Rights 2000 and the launch of the Creators' Rights Alliance).
There will be a new push on collecting email addresses, reactivating the initiative of LFB, with staff time promised to do this. A start has been made on recruiting and organising online journalists.
All the motions proposed by LFB that were in order were passed:
- to publish an advisory booklet on how to get started as a journalist when in receipt of benefits (particularly disability benefits);
- meetings venues to be accessible to members with disabilities;
- campaigning to improve pay and conditions;
- publicising the new model agreement drawn up by FIC;
- raising awareness of Press Card and campaigning against the growing privatisation of public places and on rights of journalists to report;
- establishing online branches and considering appointing an organiser. However, there won't be an "online industrial council" any time soon - rather a joint co-ordinating body.
- continuing promotion of copyright issues, and commitment to retaining a copyright consultant; and
- on assisting anti-global-capitalism campaigners to put their case.
Our late notice motions on Iran, Son of Star Wars and Zimbabwe were all also passed. Simon Pirani made a well-justifed attack on the NEC's lack of an official website - though we were assured that the new website would be up and running by the summer (a designer has been appointed) and public acknowledgement was made of Mike Holderness's efforts over the last five years of running the website.
The Edinburgh Freelance motion on external advertising of vacancies and proper equality procedures in appointments process was - surprisingly - opposed by a long line of NEC speakers, and was lost.
ADM agreed that the editor of the Journalist should negotiate with FIC over use of freelance material when Journalist is put on the web.
- The motions on Iran got wide coverage in newspapers there and, apparently, on TV.