Wednesday, August 28

A Case Note

The BBC is often described as the world‚s most prestigious broadcaster. Its mission to „inform, educate and entertain‰ is famous and distilled in a set of 'BBC Values' to which staff must adhere. They commit the BBC to the highest ethical standards of impartiality independence and fairness. The Producers‚ Guidelines set-out a detailed code of editorial values intended to ensure honest, accurate and accountable journalism. Director Generals regularly proclaim a belief in the higher purpose of the corporation which is shared by managers and staff.

This assiduously cultivated halo makes it difficult to constructively criticize the BBC - as many have done - for warmongering and propaganda and the suppression of  critical journalism within the corporation. Maistry v BBC (2010) established that the belief in its higher purpose encouraged by the BBC is a 'philosophical belief' protected by law and that the BBC cannot discriminate against a journalist for holding such a belief. Maistry v BBC has not aroused much public interest but it has profound possibilities for raising sensible concerns about the BBC.

The BBC defended the claim of discrimination by arguing that its aims and values shouldn't be taken quite so seriously, as they amounted to little more than a mission statement. An employment judge rejected this argument. Undeterred, at the substantial hearing the BBC argued that the BBC Values were a mission statement. No evidence was provided but it was enough to persuade the judge.

On the basis that managers could not have known that the claimant shared a belief that it encourages the BBC sued for costs and was awarded the maximum - £10,000. It now holds a writ of execution.

In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal it was discovered that there was a widespread culture of bullying and harassment at the corporation. The BBC responded in May 2013 in its '                                                    Respect at Work Review'. It promised a renaissance of its Values to begin in September 2013 and continue into its centenary year in 2022. It repeated the claim that all its managers and staff believed in the BBC Values which served its higher purpose.

The claimant applied for a review of the judgment as this public statement confirmed the evidence he had given and showed that the BBC had misled the court. The judge held that the new evidence was irrelevant. The claimant wrote to the Director General, Tony Hall explaining that the BBC had traduced its Values publicly exposing the corporation to charges of opportunism and hypocrisy. Typically there has been no reply.

On October 30 the claim will be heard by a judge for the final time. The NUJ says it cannot tell if its agreements are breached because this is a matter of subjective interpretation. The claimant intends to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary, and could do with some support.

Devan Maistry

Birmingham & Coventry Branch NUJ


Tuesday, August 20

Calling Notice: Birmingham & Coventry NUJ September Branch Meeting

Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Carrs Lane Church Centre
Carrs Lane
B4 7SX
6:00 pm for 6:30 start

Any apologies to branch chair:


1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of May meeting (not attached, incompetent minute taker)

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

7) NUJ Delegate Meeting 2014

8)  'Gripes, Grumbles and Grievances'

9) Any other business

  1. Topics in this message:
  2. Zero-hours Workers Earn £6 Less per Hour
  3. Report Back from Durham Miners Gala Sat 13th July
  4. Detention of David Miranda Serious Abuse of 'Terrorism Act 2000'
  5. NUJ Open meeting for 60 + members
  6. Reclaiming Our Futures - Celebrating Disabled People
  7. NUJ Settles Pay Deal With BBC


Zero-hours Workers Earn £6 Less per Hour

Workers on zero-hours contracts are being paid £6 an hour less than other employees, according to research published ahead of a summit to study what action is needed to tackle the issue. Labour is bringing together unions and employers following the revelation that a million people could be employed on a zero-hours basis, under which they are not guaranteed work from one week to the next. The opposition said official figures analysed by the Resolution Foundation showed that zero-hours workers earned an average of £9 an hour, compared with £15 for other employees.
Read more: Alan Jones, <>Independent, Tuesday 20 August 2013

Zero Hour Contracts: The NUJ Is Investigating Whether Any Members Are On Or Know Of Employers In The Industry Who Are Using Zero-Hours Contracts.


Report Back from Durham Miners Gala Sat 13th July
Bob Crow, speaking at the Durham Miners Gala Sat 13th July, urged trade unionists to break their ties with Ed Miliband's Labour Party and create one that "speaks for working people", watched by Frances O'Grady TUC General Secretary (who followed on the rostrum), her attempts to be as militant as Bob were somewhat pale. I heard little of her "It's time to start making politics real and relevant to working people again" - TUC Press Release Puff. Overlong on what's wrong with the system but not even a stab in the dark how to right it, for as she well knows it can't be fixed

Still even if stymied by Bob, she had to throw her prepared speech to the wind, we were still treated to her conviction, the TUC would back "combined" union action, whatever that purports to be, I deduce however such militant sounding vocal postulating, amounts to little more than the usual annual, do nothing for months, 'building' for the march at the Tory Party Conference! Chuh! Marching up and down the bloody hill once again! 

Comedian and actor Ricky Tomlinson spoke to the crowd on behalf of the Shrewsbury 24 campaign to overturn the convictions of 24 builders (including him). On leaving the stage there was an altercation between Ricky and persons unknown, who accused him of lying? Bad blood? As for the thronging crowd, well if there were at any one time, fifty people listening to any individual speaker I'd be surprised

Stalingrad O'Neill


Detention of David Miranda Serious Abuse of 'Terrorism Act 2000'
The detention of David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist reporting on the mass surveillance programmes by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), is yet another chilling incident in a series of attacks on civil liberties and freedom of the press. And an abuse of Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "The shocking detention of David Miranda for the crime of being the partner of a respected investigative journalist points to the growing abuse of so-called anti-terror laws in the UK. His detention and treatment was a gross misuse of the law and clearly linked to the work of his partner Glenn Greenwald, who revealed the extent of mass surveillance and wholesale interception of internet traffic by the US security services and its collusion with GCQH. It's rather ironic that the police's response, in turn, is to put the partner of a journalist under surveillance and detain him in this way.

Online Petition: Review the use of Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000, sign  <>  here . . . .


NUJ Open meeting for 60 + members on Wednesday 2 October at Headland House, 308-312 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP. It will start at 13.00 with light refreshments and finish at 16.00. Emily Georghiou from Age UK's policy and public affairs department is the keynote speaker.

A recent online survey of 60+ confirmed that there was no longer a clear division between members who had "retired" and those who were still working. The 60+ Council is part of the structure of the union and fulfills the role of a 'retired' section but more of course given developments in way age is now viewed.

The agenda will include items on proposed guidelines on reporting age, 60+ survey results and implications for the council's future work and the structure of the 60+ council. It will also be an opportunity to ask questions and inform council members on how you want the union to work on 60+ issues internally, but also in terms of NUJ policy on NHS, pensions etc.

If you wish to attend, email Lena Calvert, NUJ equality officer at <:>


Reclaiming Our Futures - Celebrating Disabled People
Brought to you by -Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle, Mental Health Resistance Network and the WOW petition
Seven Days of Action - 29th August to 4th September

Our rights are being stripped away day by day, by the neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems, leaving us without much hope for our futures - or our children's.

We have been here before. Our history is littered with examples of how our community has come together when under attack to fight - and win. >From the early campaigns of NLBDP (National League of Blind and Disabled People) through to the founding and manifesto of UPIAS (Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation) and on to DAN (Direct Action Network)- Now we have DPAC leading direct action and a host of other key grass root campaigns working towards reclaiming our rights and futures.
Read More: <>  Disabled People Against the Cuts


NUJ Settles Pay Deal With BBC

The NUJ, and sister unions Bectu and Unite, have agreed the deal and have dropped threats of strike action. They have accepted the offer of an £800 pay increase and a 1 per cent increase on pay grades and allowances.  The unions reached agreement after the BBC agreed to take off the table proposed changes to redundancy consultation terms and refer their proposals for changes to payments for working unpredictable and anti-social hours to broader consultation on pay and grading  taking place for the remainder on this year.


Keep the NUJ up to date:
If you have moved recently, have a new phone number, become a rep or have made any other changes, please contact us at <> or call the membership department on 020 7843 3737

Tuesday, August 13

-  BBC Generated £8 Billion for the UK Economy in the Last Year
-  Ethiopia  [Continued Imprisonment of Five Journalists]
-  Turkey  [Journalists Currently Imprisoned]


Broadcasting: Public Service Terrestrial Broadcasting


Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value to the United Kingdom economy of free at the point of use public service terrestrial broadcasting.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The BBC, ITV, S4C and Channels 4 and 5 now invest over £3 billion a year in UK content. Investment by the public service broadcasters supports the wider creative industries.

Deloitte estimates that the BBC alone generated £8 billion for the UK economy in the last year, equating to about two pounds being added to the UK economy for every pound of licence fee spent.

Source: <>  House of Lords, 12/08/13


Ethiopia  [Continued Imprisonment of Five Journalists]

 Lord Patten  to ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 20 June (WA 69), what is their latest assessment of the safety and welfare of the journalists Reeyot Alemu, Yusuf Getachew, Solomon Kebede, Eskinder Neya and Wubshet Taye, currently imprisoned in Ethiopia.[HL1959]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We remain concerned by the imprisonment of journalists under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism legislation. The Deputy Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr Clegg), discussed the arrest of journalists and opposition leaders with the Ethiopian Prime Minister on 17 June 2013. Our officials in Addis Ababa continue to raise the implementation of Ethiopia's anti-terrorism legislation with the Ethiopian authorities.

Source: <>  House of Lords, 12/08/13


Turkey  [Journalists Currently Imprisoned]


Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 19 June (WA 59), whether they will now give their assessment of the number of journalists currently imprisoned in Turkey; and if not, why not.[HL1960]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We do not have any reliable information on the precise number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey. Estimates of the actual numbers involved vary widely. The Turkish authorities are aware of our concerns, and we and our EU partners continue to raise freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms as part of our wider dialogue with the Turkish government.

Source: <>  House of Lords, 12/08/13

Friday, August 9

Keep the NUJ up to date. If you have moved recently, have a new phone number, become a rep or have made any other changes, please contact us at or call the membership department on 020 7843 3737


Discrimination Against Women

Eleanor Lisney Branch Equality Officer has just returned from an international meeting, 'Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women' in Geneva.

Organizations speaking about the United Kingdom indicated that women were bearing the brunt of austerity measures affecting the heavily female public sector and cuts on welfare benefits.  Changes to the healthcare system were also affecting women’s rights and affordable and accessible childcare was lacking.  Abortion was still not freely available in Northern Ireland, despite earlier recommendations.  Cuts to legal aid for many private and family matters constituted a step backwards.

Access the full report <>  here . . . .


Stop the Governments 'Go Home Campaign'

 In July 2013, the UK Home Office introduced a campaign called 'Go Home'. The campaign targeted six areas of London with two vans, with large billboards with the message 'Go Home or Face Arrest'. The billboards were allegedly targeting those who were 'illegal' or undocumented in the UK. The following week there was also an intensification of immigration spot checks at major transport hubs in the capital. The Go Home Campaign is part of a Government campaign that has caused a national outcry, and infuriated a cross section of communities.

Human rights organisations have said the government's targeting of illegal immigrants over the past two weeks is a cynical ploy that will foster hostility to minority groups, creating a climate of fear and intolerance that threatens to put race relations back decades.


TUC Myth-busting on Migration

The influx of migrant workers into the UK has benefited the economy, according to research published last month by the TUC

Contrary to Far Right accusation that immigrants are a drain on the welfare state, the study shows that migrant workers are paying more in taxes than the value of th public services they receive.

Nor is there any evidence tha migrant workers have depressed wages or caused unemployment t rise overall. While there may be some local effects on low-skilled workers, the study suggests they have not lost out due to the vibrant UK economy.

It argues that more needs to be done to prevent unscrupulous employers from taking advantage of migrant workers’ limited English and lack of knowledge of their rights. Not only should there be a crackdown on bad employers, but rights such as the minimum wage needed to be properly enforced, and loopholes, such as lack of protection for agency workers, closed.

“We do not do enough to protect vulnerable workers, whether migrant or indigenous, from exploitation”, said Brendan Barber. “If migrant workers are treated fairly and paid a decent wage they can only add to the economy, and pose no threat to the livelihoods of the rest of the workforce”.

Last month also saw publication of a new TUC guide on safety for migrant workers, who are more vulnerable to illness or injury at work due to a combination of limited safety training, inadequate safety clothing or equipment, and poor language skills.

In addition, the guide says some migrants may be put at risk by rogue employers cutting corners. With many working long hours there is also a danger of accident occurring at work due to tiredness.

1. Migrants only come to Britain to claim benefits - economic migrants from outside of the EU are not able to claim any benefits. Citizens from Eastern Europe are 60% less likely than UK citizens to claim benefits or tax credits (Source:

Only 2.6% of all JSA benefits were paid to EU citizens last year

2. Migrants take all the social housing - economic migrants from outside of the EU are not eligible for any social housing. Migrants from Eastern Europe are 58% less likely to live in social housing

3. Migrants are bad for the economy - migrants do many important jobs in health, care, services, food, industry, technology and education to name just a few.  Migration is estimated to have increased the GDP by 0.6 billion and increased average incomes by 23p a week. By contrast, government cuts have reduced average incomes by £3.34 a week

4. Migrants cause unemployment - the Department for Work and Pensions has stated there is no evidence that migration from Eastern Europe has caused unemployment

5. We couldn't go to their country - as a member of the EU, British citizens have the right to study, work, claim benefits, have free access to healthcare and retire in the 27 other countries in the EU.

Over 103, 000 British retired people are living in Spain & 56,000 British retired people are living in France

About 286,000 UK citizens work in EU member states & 2.6% of British people are claiming benefits in other EU countries

Thursday, August 8

Labour Party up to Their Necks With Zero Hour Contracts

These contracts are not just the preserve of “rogue” employers in the private sector like Sports Direct (20,000 workers on zero hours) and McDonald’s (82,000) but are also common in the voluntary and public sector (where up to 200,000 workers could be on zero hours contracts).

Unison says that 97 per cent of all councils use zero-hours contracts for homecare services.

Several Labour councils are using such contracts including Newham, Brent and Tower Hamlets in London, Preston (150 on zero hours like contracts) and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council where up to 2,759 workers (according to International Business Times) are on zero hours.

 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development research suggests that there could be about one million zero hours workers in the UK