DM2023: finance

  • 29 Apr 2023

Conference agreed to a subs increase following lively debate.

NUJ subscriptions are to increase by around five per cent in July with the same increase in 2024, following a motion passed by delegates.

However the resolution, backed by the necessary two-thirds of conference, also committed the union to a special conference in the autumn to resolve outstanding issues affecting journalists on low pay.

Chris Frost speaking on behalf of the National Executive Council, said that while it was ‘unpalatable’, the union needed to increase subs to fulfil its functions. Costs had gone up, so income needed to increase. He acknowledged that members were facing difficult times and that was why the rise in subs would be substantially below the inflation rate. Experts had predicted that while inflation would come down, it would decline ‘relatively slowly’.

Neil Ward, Dublin Press and PR, said the union could not expect its own people to do more with less. The increase in subscription was an "investment in our future".

Opposing the rise, Emma O’Kelly, chair of Dublin Broadcasting branch, stated current rates were a barrier to recruitment, especially as other unions were asking for lower subs. One member at RTE had to take additional part-time work to make ends meet. She pointed out that union finances were in good shape.

Yvonne Deeney, Bristol branch, stated the union had lost many low-paid members. Perhaps the union could look at cutting costs and at the subs paid by members on higher salaries, she asked.

The motion noted the massive increase in the cost of living across the UK and Ireland caused by government policies including taxation and energy, together with the consequences of Brexit.

Delegates noted the impact on members but also on the union and its ability to continue operating without a deficit. The union had a responsibility to fight to improve members’ standards of living, allowing them to produce quality journalism and support their families.

To do this, the union needed suitable resources, the resolution said. It congratulated DM2021 for bringing the union’s finances back into balance, but expressed disappointment that cost of living increases since then meant the union once again had to increase subs to follow inflation.

The DM was also concerned that membership among the lower paid had fallen over the pandemic crisis by three percent. DM was worried that many members would not be able to afford an increase in line with an RPI in excess of 10 percent. However, conference noted that all grade one members and most of grade two members (82 percent of all paying members) were now eligible to claim one percent subs. This meant that only a small number of grade two members, all earning more than £25,000 a year, would be obliged to pay an increase in subs with as many as 2,500 grade three members also entitled to claim 1 percent subscriptions.

Delegates acknowledged that members would not be able to afford an increase in line with an RPI increase in excess of 10 per cent.

Conference also passed a motion instructing the NEC to amend the rules to allow applicants under the age of 25 , joining for the first time; asylum seeker members switching to refugee member status and temporary members, to pay a membership fee of one third of the grade one rate for their first year of membership.

The new rates:

July 2023                                          July 2024

Grade 1 85p (€1.00) pm                  £1.00 (€1.00) pm

Grade 2 £1.00  (€1.25) pm               £1.00 (€1.50) pm

Grade 3 £1.50 (€1.75) pm                £1.50 (€2.25) pm

This will mean that annual rates will be as follows:

From July 2023

Sterling rate                                     Euro rate

Grade 1 £17.85 pm                        €21.00 pm.

Grade 2 £22.00 pm.                        €27.25 pm.

Grade 3 £30.50 pm.                        €36.75 pm.

From July 2024

Sterling rate                                    Euro rate

Grade 1 £18.85 pm                        €22.00 pm.

Grade 2 £23.00 pm.                       €28.75 pm.

Grade 3 £32.00 pm.                       €39.00 pm.

Rates for Temporary members will be the following proportion of the minimum rate above: Year 1 - 50% (£108 or €129); Year 2 - 70% (£151 or €180); Year 3 - 85% (£184 or €219). The minimum rate of £13 (€13.80) a month and all other subscription rates will remain unchanged.

The treasurer's report was heard by Delegate Meeting. 

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