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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 April 2007

NUJ Conference

Build on the victories

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists (NUJ) is holding its Centenary Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) on 12-15 April.

Molly Cooper, National Executive Committee, (personal capacity)

Journalists are facing many attacks on their pay and conditions. Media bosses want to develop digital newsrooms at the same time as cutting costs, by slashing jobs and budgets.

Staff rotas are being changed to force more work from fewer staff. Casualisation is being used to remove employment rights and make changes without compensation to the journalists who are expected to take on the extra workload.

But some victories have been won. The Guardian chapel has secured significant pay rises for staff working online.

The Telegraph chapel has forced a company u-turn on compulsory Saturday working, shift changes without compensation and over chapel negotiating rights. The chapels at the Express and Star and the Financial Times have forced management to back down over compulsory redundancies.

To build on this success, campaigning action needs to be co-ordinated.

An NUJ Conference on Integration on 5 May should consider joint action by all national newspaper journalists, including protests and, if necessary industrial action.

NUJ chapels have also taken action over low pay. Members in Southampton, Doncaster and at BBC Worldwide have all staged pay disputes.

An amendment to the NEC motion on wages, payments and conditions, moved by Socialist Party NUJ members from Manchester calls for the NUJ to make the demand for a 26,000 minimum wage an integral part of the battle to fight low pay.

An NEC proposal for a National Low Pay Day of Action this year, with the demand of 26,000 as its central theme, would offer an excellent opportunity to organise members and inspire new members to join the NUJ.

At the BBC, strong action by the chapels has resulted, so far, in no compulsory redundancies but over 2,000 NUJ members have been made voluntarily redundant.

The ADM must consider preparing now for further action to fight future job cuts.

Workplace issues affecting journalists are similar to those faced by all workers.

This is why Manchester will be moving an amendment to the South Yorkshire motion on the RMT Shop Stewards conference. The amendment calls for a speaking tour by national shop stewards' network steering committee members within chapels and branches of the NUJ, and for the NUJ to actively build and publicise the conference on 12 May [now rearranged for 7 July].

Socialist Party NUJ members are also moving an amendment calling for a national demonstration to fight the attacks on the NHS.

As well as campaigning industrially we have to recognise that whilst we may be able to get small concessions in one set of negotiations, the bosses will come back time and time again to attack working people.

We therefore need to fight for a political alternative to capitalism, and support the call for a new mass workers' party to look after the interests of working people.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 12 April 2007:

Fight for a socialist alternative

Coventry - Socialist Party's track record

Environment and socialism

'Climate change will hit poorest of poor hardest'

Nuclear power is not the answer

Is the Green Party heading left or right?

Battling over the world's oil reserves

G8 Summit protests

Join the International Youth Camp

International socialist news and analysis

France: Workers need to build a Left alternative

Socialist Party news and analysis

Workers' lives get tougher under New Labour

Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Why legal aid should be defended

Blair silent on Guantanamo

Socialist Party workplace news

Union leaders out of touch with teachers' discontent

NUJ: Build on the victories

Fury at jobs massacre

UNISON and PCS: Vote for fighting, democratic unions

PCS: All out on 1 May

International socialist news and analysis

Zimbabwe: State thugs crackdown on protests


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