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NUJ support and solidarity to M10 strikers

10 May 2012

Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, including members of PCS, RMT and NIPSA, are taking part in a 24-hour strike in a dispute with the government over pension changes. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, has sent a message of support and solidarity to the M10 strikers:

"The National Union of Journalists sends support and solidarity to the thousands of trade unionists who will take part in the strike on Thursday 10 May.
"We are proud to support the campaign against cuts to pensions - it is simply not acceptable for the government to make ordinary workers pick up the tab for an economic crisis of the bankers' making.
"We are urging our members to show support for the strike by attending local picket lines, rallies and events."
Strike action on 10 May

Can you strike?

If you are eligible for joint membership with the NUJ and another sister union – you may be able take part in the industrial action if a union in your workplace has been balloted and intends to go out on strike (in your workplace). But you must check in advance with a local union representative or trade union official to ensure that you do not put yourself at risk by taking action.

Covering events in London?

The Met Police helpline for photographers and other lens-based journalists will be in operation from 10.30am and the number is 07917 556 824.

Ideas for solidarity:

  • NUJ members can organise chapel meetings and invite a striker to come and talk about the pensions dispute.
  • Don't forget to have an office whip-round – and take the opportunity to recruit some new NUJ members at the same time.
  • Do what you can to ensure the strikes are reported fairly and accurately.
  • Get out there and support striking members and the fight for decent pensions.
  • There will be events throughout the UK - for more information, go to the PCS website here

NUJ Freelance members:

You have not been balloted in this dispute, so we cannot ask you to take industrial action and you should work normally. You should refuse to cover any work that would normally be carried out by a member taking strike action.

If, however, as a matter of conscience, you decide not to cross a picket line and your employer attempts to discipline you then you will have the full support of the NUJ.

NUJ members in the public sector:

Several public sector unions have balloted in favour of industrial action and planned strike action on the threat to pensions. This includes members who hold joint membership of NUJ and another public sector union who have balloted, but not those who are members of the NUJ only.

The NUJ is not recognised for collective bargaining purposes in relation to pensions in the public sector and so has not been involved in those discussions and not balloted for industrial action.

Anti-trade union legislation means that the NUJ is not allowed by law to ask you to join the strike. Your Union is not allowed to ask that you breach your Contract of Employment.

But trade union members tend not to cross picket lines and you may individually choose to support your colleagues in this way, but may face disciplinary action by your employer for breach of contract if you do so.

If your conscience dictates that you will not cross a picket line, the NUJ will give you all the support as we can.

The Union is able to ask that you give all lawful support to your colleagues in this very important issue. You may want to discuss ways of providing that lawful support to your colleagues with your NUJ chapel if you have one.

Tags: , strike, solidarity, pcs, nipsa, rmt, pensions