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Union democracy

What you need to know about the NUJ

You don't have to be able to quote all the rules. But knowing more about the union and how its democratic structures work can help you understand your role as a member and how you can get involved.

The NUJ encourages all members to take part in union events and activity. Find out about the latest NUJ events and the NUJ events diary is not limited to just the UK and Ireland.

NUJ members organised within their local workplace are called a chapel.

Groups of members organised on a geographical basis are called a branch, but branches may also be specific to one sector.

NUJ delegate meeting (DM) is the union's main policy-making body.

DM 2011
Delegates at DM 2011 voting © Mark Thomas

National executive council (NEC) is the main supervisory body of the union, carrying out DM instructions and running the NUJ in between DMs.

The Irish executive council (IEC), Scottish executive council (SEC) and Welsh executive council (WEC) carry out similar roles to the NEC and are responsible for industrial and organisational issues in their nation or principality.

The general secretary (GS) is the union's chief executive officer, running the union on a day-to-day basis.

The president, vice-president and honorary general treasurer are members of the NEC who volunteer for election and are known collectively as the national officers.

The union has industrial councils for each of its industrial sectors (including councils for newspapers and agencies, new media, broadcasting, freelance, PR and communications, magazines, and books). There is also a dedicated council for our photographer members representing the NUJ's photographer, photojournalist and video journalist members.

The equality council tackles issues relating to gender, sexual orientation, age and childcare.

The Black members' council (BMC) involves our black and minority ethnic members and campaigns against racism.

The disabled members' council (DMC) involves our disabled members and campaigns to improve society's view of disabled people.

The union has a 60+ council, which campaigns on issues relating to older people.

LGBT members have a group called NUJ pride and the equality council currently has responsibility for dealing with LGBT issues.

The union organises specific events and activities for students and young members.

The ethics council deals with members’ complaints, promotes ethical guidance and provides advice and support.

NUJ rule book – The Rule book is a legal document and can only be amended by special motions to DM.