The NUJ and Publishing

The NUJ is the union for you if you work in publishing.  People working in book, magazine and educational publishing can join, from editors to designers, publishers, rights managers, publicists and marketing. If you work in contracts, content development and solutions digital and online, library and archives, research and project management you can join.

Publishing is a poorly paid part of the media. Many of you love the job and can’t imagine doing anything else but many publishing workers face low pay, unmanageable workloads, stress and no clear path to promotion. We continue to see companies failing to tackle the gender pay gap. Those from underrepresented backgrounds are paid less and face microaggressions and obstacles to career progression. Diversity and inclusion policies are often not followed up with meaningful action.

The NUJ campaigns on increased diversity and inclusion; low pay and lack of wage transparency; health and safety in the workplace; abuse of internships; tackling sexual harassment; flexible working and parental leave.

The NUJ exists to provide you and your colleagues with support and advice at work. The NUJ can advise you and your colleagues how to make a real change in your workplace, as well as supporting individual members.

In companies with union recognition, employees are able to negotiate collectively about their pay and working conditions.

We work with organisations such as the Society of Young Publishers (See page 5 NUJ Branch May 2024)

What if I’m freelance?

The NUJ has hundreds of members working freelance in publishing.  The NUJ can help you with a range of issues including looking at contracts, tax, workers’ rights and effectively chasing late payments.

  1. If you’re in Books, find out more about the NUJ by emailing [email protected]
  2. If you’re based in Oxford  [email protected]
  3. If you’re working in Magazines in London

How can I join and how much does it cost?

Joining the NUJ is simple, just fill in the online form here. Our subs are salary-related and start at £12 a month.

You will need to confirm you earn at least 50 per cent of your income from journalism. ‘Journalism’ here includes any media work that is NUJ eligible (e.g. book, magazine and educational publishing roles). If in doubt, get in touch.

Publishing case study: a grateful member

When I joined the NUJ in the 1980s, unions were powerful and every newsroom had one and every journalist joined the NUJ.  For me this was being part of a family. Just before Covid, I was unfairly dismissed a few months into a new job.  The very next day, I rang up the NUJ.  Within two hours, they gave me a union rep.  After listening to me for over an hour my rep said “Leave it with me.” Within 24-hours, they were back having spoken with HQ and telling me that they wouldn’t let the company get away with it. In a difficult legal position because of not having been in the job for two years, that did not stop my rep.  They looked up laws, they asked questions, they got legal advice and they acted in my best interests. They wrote my grievance claim for bullying, and they filled in the forms for the employment tribunal.  Years of experience dealing with employers meant they knew what to say, what to do and how to do it. I had never ever been let go and I had never been so publicly humiliated.  I was given 10-minutes to clear my desk, pack my belongings and to leave the building.  That degradation erodes your confidence.  You think it is all your fault.  What my rep also did was to say it was not my doing and slowly they built me back up and gave me the strength. For almost six months we battled and my NUJ rep was with me every step of the way.  In the end, my former boss knew they had taken on a formidable foe.  They caved and we won.

Mabic health & safety and welfare factsheet