Anita Halpin awarded Gold Badge at TUC Congress
18 September 2009
Anita Halpin, NUJ treasurer, was awarded a Trades Union Congress (TUC) Gold Badge at the TUC's annual congress in Liverpool. The Gold Badge is the highest honour handed out for service to the workers movement and provided a happy ending to a busy week in Liverpool.
NUJ delegates at TUC Congress spoke in debates on public service broadcasting, civil liberties, work experience and the BNP.
Anita Halpin, a graphic artist who represents PR workers on the NUJ national executive, first attended the congress 20 years ago.
She stood down from the General Council, the committee that runs the TUC, this year. She had been the first NUJ representative elected onto the body.
Anita Halpin outlined changes she has seen in her speech accepting the award:
"Greater diversity in delegations – but still far short of being truly representative.
"More women delegates, but still only just over one in three… and, at least this year I thought, an increasing number of women speakers."
Earlier at the congress, Peter Murray, NUJ vice president, spoke about the exploitation of graduates trying to break into journalism:
"One in five was on work experience for three months or more.
"More than 75% received no payment for work they'd produced."
He said the government should "force companies to pay trainees for the work they do, don't allow those employers to turn their dreams into nightmares of exhaustion, disappointment and debt."
Tim Lezard, another NUJ delegate, said in a debate about the growth of fascist parties:
"Cuts in newsrooms mean there aren't enough journalists to properly cover the BNP.
"Those that are left don't have the time to chase up stories and investigate them.
"Those that do have time to investigate them are threatened and find their details appearing on far-right hate websites."