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Are You Being Served? You and Your Union

© nuj

14 May 2019

Greetings from the NUJ,

The NUJ is your union. We want to know how you feel about the union, about the way we do our business and how we can improve to meet the needs of members in an ever changing media landscape.

We recognise that members have different levels of engagement with their union and there are many reasons for this.

Our procedures and structures are based on the principle of maximising participation by members in our decision making: in our workplace, within our branches and committees and, especially, though our delegate meetings. Yes, there are many members who we don’t hear from very often. We have a proud democratic tradition, something we cherish but we also recognise that the current structures are not working effectively.

Our 2018 delegate meeting instructed the NEC to set up a working party and to return to DM with:

  • Proposals to improve union democracy and the accessibility of DM and;
  • A blueprint for changes to the way the union operates to best serve the needs of members now and in the future.

That review is under way and we are inviting members to initiate conversations on the future of the union’s structures.

Your input is of crucial importance.

What we aim to do is improve the union’s democracy by making it more relevant to the very different environment to that which existed when the current structures were developed.  The NUJ will also be guided by the democratic wishes of our members. What we need to do is improve how those wishes are conveyed and understood.

With that in mind and in the spirt of the two motions adopted you are asked to consider:

  • Measures and practical changes to Delegate Meeting procedures, reducing the number of DM motions, streamlined preliminary agenda and final agenda, and the use of audio visual systems and electronic voting.
  • Changes designed to make better use of the times between conferences, by promoting policy discussions at all levels across the union between conferences.
  • Examine the needs of current members, of those who we aspire to serve, and to consider structural changes and developments to meet those needs more effectively.
  • Review and rethink rules and practices to make them ore relevant to non-traditional working practices.
  • In short the working party wants to hear how we can best serve current and future members.

We want to hear from all members, office holders, activists, conference delegates and workplace reps. Our biggest challenge is to get feedback from those who do not engage with the union. Our current model is based on a traditional workplace model, excluding many from active participation. Please consider: How can we reach our members and potential members? Can technology assist us in this task?

You should not be constrained by current practices or procedures. If you feel that you feel detached from how the union operates please explain why this is so. It can be because of meeting times, venues, locations or frequency.

Ultimately the working party will report to the NEC and all decisions on future structures will rest with the membership through the decision of our Delegate Meeting in 2020.

This is your chance to help shape your union over the next 50 years.

Do not be afraid to be critical, controversial or imaginative.

You can submit your  ideas to AGS@nuj.org.uk
The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday  21 June. 

Séamus Dooley
Assistant General Secretary

Tags: , consultation, union democracy, branches, chapels, committees, DM, policy