Delegates to the National Union of Journalists’ first national meeting in 18 months this week face the biggest attack on democracy in years.
This is part of a wider trend—other union leaderships facing a declining membership are pushing similar attacks.
If the NUJ had met annually, rather the current bizarre 18-month cycle, it would not be in the financial mess it’s now in.
The union leadership squandered the political capital for union organising that was shown by the hacking scandal. It refused to call a demonstration on Wapping at the height of the scandal.
This could have signalled that the union was determined to get back into the newsrooms and set out to ensure that ordinary people would never again be victims of media corruption.
The leadership is using the financial mess as an argument for a two-year cycle for national meetings and a cut to the number of delegates. This will prevent it from facing major arguments.
Union organisation would give journalists greater bargaining power, and much greater control over the material their titles publish. Delegates must defend democracy and ensure a return to annual national meetings.