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Delegate Meeting 2020 - or 2021 - in some form

THE NUJ'S Finance Committee and Standing Orders Committee are investigating how the Union's Delegate Meeting (DM, its conference, usually held every two years) can take place either at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.

Drawing of NUJ's 2014 Delegate Meeting

Artist's impression of what a face-to-face NUJ DM looked like. This one's from 2014 in Eastbourne

It is likely to be shorter than usual, with a stripped-down agenda and with "as few members as possible" attending due to covid-19 restrictions on larger gatherings still expected to be in place. So LFB's delegation - one of the largest at DM, as we are by far the biggest Branch of the NUJ in terms of number of members - is expected to be smaller than usual.

The 2020-or-2021 DM will deal with urgent business that needs to be covered as a result of the scheduled April 2020 DM at Southport being cancelled. While the NUJ's Emergency Committee has dealt with pressing matters during the pandemic, our Union is based on the democratic participation of its members and its constitution means some decisions can be made only by a vote of delegates elected and sent by members.

By far the most urgent item on the agenda is a proposed rise in Union subscriptions, aimed at staving off a (pre-covid) crisis in the Union's finances. Many other agenda items are expected to be emergency motions to deal with matters arising since the start of the pandemic or in its aftermath.

There has within living memory been a (pre-internet) Special Delegate Meeting of the NUJ, convened in London with basically one urgent item on the agenda, over by late afternoon so delegates can return home without the need for accommodation.

According to the National Executive Council's newsletter NUJ Informed, a joint Committee is investigating how other trade unions are holding conferences in this unprecedented era. The possibilities include a virtual DM.

For example, the VNF - the Photojournalists' section of our Dutch sister union VNJ - is going ahead with its AGM in The Hague September in a hybrid version. Members have the option of attending in person or virtually from their laptop at home. Their AGM's agenda has been stripped down to just two hours.

Watch this space for details of the next DM, its dates, its format and its venue if applicable. LFB has already elected delegates and reserves for the cancelled April DM in Southport. It's not yet known whether the elections for LFB delegates will need to be held again,