Wednesday, October 31

  A Freelance Lifeboat in the Perfect Storm - New Ways to Make Journalism Pay

NUJ London Freelance Branch is hosting a one-day conference in central London on Saturday 17 November, designed to help freelances broaden what they're offering, find new markets, enhance their skills and become more profitable. 

Builds on the success of the 2010 conference of the same name. It will give NUJ members and non-members invaluable insights from leading writers, photographers and commissioners about the way today's media have evolved, the new opportunities that have developed, and the techniques and tools that can be used to their advantage (despite it all!).
Further information: NUJ Freelance Conference Site
Early Day Motion 656: Radio Bar Kulan
That this House registers its concern about the working conditions and labour rights abuses at the radio station, Radio Bar Kulan(RBK), run by British PR company Albany Associates with funding from the UN; notes that a petition to the UN Secretary General's special representative for Somalia, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has been signed by over 40 journalists' and trade union associations, including the International Federation of Journalists, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), the Trades Union Congress of Great Britain and the Federation of Somali Trade Unions; and supports the petition's call to end these labour rights violations at RBK, to restore a working atmosphere that enhances respect for workers and human rights and to compel Albany to engage in genuine negotiations with the legitimate leadership of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) for the defence and representation of RBK workers in Kenya and Somalia, in particular regarding those sacked or forced to resign and to stop attacks on NUSOJ by Albany Associates.

Sponsors: Mitchell, Austin/ Bottomley, Peter / Corbyn, Jeremy / Cunningham, Alex / Llwyd, Elfyn / McDonnell, John        House of Commons / Date tabled: 30/10/2012

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 656
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

Sunday, October 28

Online Student Registration

Any person aged 16 or over and in higher education who is studying journalism or who practises student journalism in a medium supported by the National Union of Students or the Union of Students in Ireland, and who satisfies the NEC that he or she intends to pursue a career in journalism, is eligible to apply for student membership of the NUJ. If you are still at secondary school, you will need to wait until you leave before you can apply.

NUJ Student membership costs £25/€35.70 for the duration of your course.

Online Joining is for UK based Students only.

Student Applicants from the Republic of Ireland should download the Irish Student Application Form from the the 'Join Us' section on the main NUJ site and forward the completed form with photos directly to the Dublin Office.

Thursday, October 25

Birmingham: Equal Pay Ruling Opens Door for Women to Take Employers to Court

Employers face the prospect of battling discrimination claims years after an employee has left their company following a landmark Supreme Court ruling yesterday.

More than 170 women who worked in low-paying jobs for Birmingham City Council and claim they were paid less than their male colleagues won the right to have their discrimination case heard in the courts.

The ruling means that historical equal-pay disputes can be heard in the civil courts and not just in employment tribunals, which only deal with cases that are brought within six months of someone leaving their job. The dispute has been rumbling on for more than three years. The women, who worked as cleaners, cooks, caterers and care staff, said they were excluded from getting bonuses that were handed to employees in traditionally male-dominated jobs such as refuse collection.
Read more: Independent 24/10/12

Wednesday, October 24

EDM 618: Leveson Inquiry & the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the BBC
That this House notes with concern the recent controversy over allegations of serious criminal offences committed by Jimmy Savile and the subsequent questions that have been raised over the culture, practices and ethics of the BBC; further notes the calls for an independent inquiry; agrees that the BBC should not dictate the terms of an inquiry into itself; further notes that the Leveson Inquiry is not yet concluded and that Lord Justice Leveson himself said that he would look into anything that arose that he felt impacted onthe work of the inquiry; further notes that the Leveson Inquiry has experience of running an inquiry parallel to a criminal investigation; and believes that given its remit the Leveson Inquiry would be incomplete if it did not include an investigation into the culture, practices and ethics of the BBC.

Sponsors: Main, Anne     House of Commons / Date tabled: 23/10/2012

Tuesday, October 23

EDM 609: Blacklisted WorkersThat this House believes in justice for blacklisted workers; notes that the 44 construction companies exposed as blacklisters by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) investigation of the Consulting Association escaped without penalty or punishment; is alarmed that in recent evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee representatives of the ICO confirmed that they had seized only five to 10 per cent of files held by the Consulting Association; further believes that companies guilty of blacklisting must be barred from tendering for public procured contracts; is concerned that a recent court case revealed that the police and security services may have been complicit in the Consulting Association's activities and that blacklist records were kept on academics and journalists as well as thousands of construction workers; insists that the ICO notifies all persons listed on the Consulting Association blacklist files directly in the same way victims were notified in the phone hacking scandal; demands that compensation be paid retrospectively to all victims of blacklisting; calls for a public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal so that there can be no cover up; accepts that the existing blacklisting regulations offer no protection and are not fit for purpose and that it should be a criminal offence to supply, compile, solicit or use information in connection with a prohibited list; and further believes that the blacklisting of workers must no longer be part of our society.

Sponsors: Rotheram, Steve               House of Commons / Date tabled: 19/10/2012

Friday, October 19

BBC World Service Cuts are a 'Terrible Assault on a Much-Loved Institution'

Following the announcement on Thursday 18 October that the BBC plan to cut another 73 jobs from the World Service, the NUJ has urged George Entwistle not to make the same mistakes as his predecessor.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: "These job cuts fly in the face of the new director general's commitment to sustaining quality programming at the BBC.

"The World Service is prized around the world – slashing journalistic jobs and cutting programmes is a terrible assault on a much-loved institution that provides a lifeline to listeners around the world.

"Instead of pressing on with these cuts, George Entwistle should be taking the opportunity to rethink the approach of his predecessor, and seize the chance to push for a renegotiation of the licence fee settlement. The deal, clinched behind closed doors in 2010, froze the licence fee and foisted an additional £340million of spending commitments on the BBC, setting the corporation on a path of decline that threatens our world-acclaimed public service broadcaster – it's time for a fresh start and a a real commitment to quality programming and journalism."

Tuesday, October 2

Birmingham and Coventry NUJ - October Branch Meeting

Tuesday 16th October

The Weston Suite
Belgrade Theatre
Corporation Street
Assemble 6:15 for 6:30 pm start

Any apologies to branch chair:


1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of July meeting

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

6) Any other business

Attached uncorrected minutes of September branch meeting.


Branch Member John O takes on 'Information Commissioner'

John O spent last Thursday and Friday at an Information Rights Tribunal hearing, where he was appealing a decision of the Information Commissioner, not to reveal in its' entirety an 'Immigration Blacklist' set up by the UK Border Agency that has been operating since February 2011.

The hearing was heavily balanced in favour of the 'Information Commissioner' as John O and his legal team were excluded from part of the hearing to allow the Foreign and Common Wealth Office to give their evidence to the Tribunal in secret.

There was no decision on the day and John O will have to wait until the tribunal hands it down.

Forthcoming legislation will allow the Government national and local where they have been taken to court to have the public/Journalists banned from all or part of the hearings.

UK Home Office Fights Ruling That It Must Disclose 'Immigration Blacklist'
The UK's Home Office [has appealed] against a decision of the Information Commissioner which requires it to disclose an 'immigration blacklist' of 44 countries to an immigration rights campaigner. Citizens of countries on the list face extra immigration checks and are required to provide more evidence in support of visa applications because of higher levels of immigration fraud among applications from those countries.

The immigration activist, John O, sought disclosure of the list because he argued that it was inherently unfair that people might be discriminated against on the basis that they came from a country which is on the list. He put in a 'freedom of information (FOI) request' to the government. The government is obliged to hand over information sought under an FOI request unless there are good reasons for keeping the information secret.

The UK government opposed John O's FOI request on the basis that to disclose the list would cause offence to the countries named on it and might lead to retaliatory action against British travellers. It might also lead to a worsening of diplomatic relations between the UK and countries named. It might even risk British contracts with the governments of named countries.
Read more: <>, 28 September 2012


Yorkshire Will See Industrial Action this Friday
NUJ members working for Newsquest in York will be taking strike action on Friday, 5 October as management refused them a pay increase this year – it means that they have not had one in three of the past four years.
Read more here . . . .

Resolution on Safety of Journalists Adopted by UN Human Rights Council
The 21th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution calling for "States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference".

Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said:  "The resolution is a tremendous boost to our global campaign for the protection of journalists and we commend states which tabled and supported it, but states must now show their good faith by implementing in earnest the resolution and not leave it to gather dust on shelves in the halls of UN offices in Geneva."
Read More here . . . .


Minimum Wage Increase is Real Terms Pay Cut, Says TUC

Government plans to increase the minimum wage by 1.8 per cent for adult workers and freeze the rate for young workers will result in the lowest paid suffering a real terms pay cut, the TUC said today .

The TUC said that with inflation running at 2.9 per cent (RPI), around 940,000 people, two-thirds of whom are women, would see a further squeeze on their living standards, with young people being hit the hardest.

Commenting on the new rates, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While we are pleased that government has rejected the siren calls of some employers to freeze the minimum wage for adult workers and apprentices, these increases are still far below inflation and will leave the lowest paid facing a real terms cut.

“These new rates are a particular blow to younger people who will face the biggest hit on their living standards. There is no evidence that the minimum wage has had an adverse impact on young people’s employment so it is hard to see the logic behind their pay freeze.

“Today’s rate increases do not do enough to help hard-pressed families.  We need a bolder increase next year otherwise the real incomes of minimum wage workers will continue to fall, along with consumer demand.”
Tim Lezard - Union News, 1st October 2012


Remploy  [Bro Jonathan Peasley GMB union spoke at September meeting]

Lord Roberts of Llandudno  to ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Remploy factories have been closed as a result of their decision to withdraw their subsidy from Remploy.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Of the 27 factories and associated business identified by the Remploy board for closure and the board’s subsequent announcement on 10 July 2012, five factories have closed and 19 factories have ceased trading.

By 14 September, 977 factory employees have been made redundant.

Those former Remploy employees who are disabled and were made compulsorily redundant can now receive support from the People Help and Support Package. This package includes personalised support and the Government have made £8 million available to fund this delivery across the UK.House of Lords: 1st October 2012