#HeartNUJ: Solidarity matters
Trade Union members and the public assemble at Belfast City Hall in protest at the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr. - © Kevin Cooper Photoline
10 February 2017
Kevin Cooper, NUJ member of honour
I have no hesitation in recommending that all journalists working in or working to newsrooms in Britain and Ireland should join the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
All working people should join the union which is appropriate to their workplace or industry.
We all have a responsibility not only to this generation but to the next; to collectively improve wages and conditions, fight for equality, social justice and show solidarity to other workers when they need support.
I’m proud to be the third generation of my family to be a union member and activist fighting for change. My grandfather was a Carter and took part in the Dockers and Carter’s Strike in 1907 in Belfast led by James Larkin. My father left school at 14 to become a Carter’s helper he went on to be a lorry driver and a union official for the Transport and General Workers Union. He was also regional secretary of the Workers Educational Association and president the Belfast and District Trade Union Council for 19 years where he served with Inez McCormack from UNISON, who became the first woman president of the ICTU. He also worked with Betty Sigler, secretary to the trades council, Ann Hope, equality officer of the ICTU in Belfast and Paul McGill from the NUJ, and many others.
NUJ members in Northern Ireland stand in solidarity with colleagues and we stand up to threats and censorship.
I own a great debt to NUJ members like Ivan Peoples who unionised his father’s own newspaper in Sligo and then became a union activist in Belfast, a past NUJ president and NUJ member of honour for his work and support in the Belfast and district NUJ branch and the union.
Our union has a track record of standing in solidarity with journalists in Northern Ireland when they have been threatened by paramilitaries or under pressure from the state.
Our union also stood with other workers and participated in demonstrations for peace and for the end to sectarian killings.
Our union fought for equality by supporting fair employment and equality cases which brought about greater diversity in our newsrooms.
Our union has stood in solidarity with anti-racist campaigners in support of refugees.
The trade union movement is at its best when it comes together in solidarity in support of others.
Join the NUJ in an act of solidarity.