Socialist Worker

NUJ conference: Turning words into action

by Rhetta Moran
Issue No. 2179

Over 150 National Union of Journalists (NUJ) delegates gathered at the union’s conference in Southport last week.

Delegates described examples of the attacks they face.

Local newspapers that used to report serious issues are being turned into advertisement sheets with occasional stories based on uncorroborated press releases.

Reporters’ workloads have become so great that they can barely investigate issues that directly affect their communities.

Publications are closing and NUJ members are being made redundant and left high and dry over how to pay their mortgages and feed their families.

Managers are bullying workers and attacking their right to organise as trade unionists in their workplace.

The conference covered the same issues facing millions of other workers, including how to reach out, recruit and organise new, young workers.

Workers who face the reality on the ground can resist the attacks and build confidence. But their actions must be coupled with solidarity from within and growth beyond the union.

To that end, journalists need to concentrate on turning fighting words into action.

Guest speakers included a representative from the Zimbabwe journalists’ union.

The mother of imprisoned soldier Joe Glenton spoke at the fringe meeting for Media Workers Against the War.

The conference collected £540 for the striking Superdrug workers, but it was thin on that ground when it came to describing and explaining practical steps that can equip NUJ members to organise effectively.

That includes learning the lessons from previous disputes and responding to the need to spread action when workers go on strike.

For example, the journalists in Leeds who came out this summer were a beacon for journalists everywhere,

Faced with their daily challenges from management, the need to craft concrete plans of action, rooted in specific disputes, has never been greater.

As members act, the NUJ national executive must be called upon to ensure that the full weight of the machinery of this union is pulled behind them.

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Article information

Tue 24 Nov 2009, 18:05 GMT
Issue No. 2179
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