NUJ plans to buy shares in media companies
25 November 2009
The NUJ is planning to purchase small quantities of shares in major media companies to enable the union to put questions direct to members of the companies’ boards. The decision to buy the shares was taken by delegates to the union’s policy-making conference in Southport on Saturday.
Shareholders of companies are entitled to attend annual general meetings and put questions to senior managers and the board.
The idea to purchase the shares was put to the conference by the union’s Birmingham and Coventry branch. Speakers highlighted the way this tactic had been used in the past to put questions to, among others, Sly Bailey of Trinity Mirror.
While the idea of using shareholders to gain access to AGMs has been used in the past by the NUJ, the union has never purchased shares specifically for this purpose before. It has also never taken such a systematic approach to using this campaign technique.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, said that the union was keen to adopt innovative ways of exposing the failure of the big media companies to stand up for journalism:
“We’ve been lobbying shareholders for some years now, calling on them to ask questions that will put pressure on chief executives to consider the wider importance their companies play in society, not just the bottom line.
“But this is the first time we’ll be taking coordinated action to ensure that the Sly Baileys and John Frys of this world are called to answer for what they are doing to local journalism.”