Finance conference: subs, recruitment and more

  • 28 Mar 2024

NUJ members met for lively discussion and a chance to contribute ideas at the conference exploring how to build a fair subscriptions structure.

Natasha Hirst, NUJ president welcomed members to the conference on Saturday 23 March, outlining the important opportunity to share ideas on what action can be taken to “strengthen our union and make sure we are fit for the future in the long-term.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, thanked the finance committee for their work thus far and referenced engagement by Chris Frost, NUJ finance committee chair, who has attended several branch meetings to discuss his detailed briefing, answering questions from reps and members. Stanistreet reminded attendees that the conference presented an opportunity to feedback thoughts into branches with a view to submitting motions into the preliminary agenda of Delegate Meeting 2025.

Next to address members was John Barsby, NUJ treasurer, providing a helpful overview of the financial position of the union. Final context before detailed discussion, was provided by Frost whose introduction discussed the 2016 change to subscription grades and urged “original thinking” from members in attendance to ensure an approach that maintained the union’s current standards. “We provide a superb service all round, both in the UK and in Ireland” he said.

The first session of the day encouraged members to share initial thoughts, and feedback relayed included views gathered following discussion with branches. Ensuring disabled journalists keen to join the union were able to do so as easily as possible was raised, alongside themes on improving awareness about who is eligible to join the union, the impact of increased subscription rates on member retention and the need to explore ways to boost recruitment to the union.

Delegates grouped together in smaller rooms allowing for discussion. Ideas discussed included recruitment offers to current members referring individuals to the union, targeted recruitment efforts within sectors unaware of the union’s offer and their ability to join, member discounts, reducing the 50 per cent earnings threshold and whether minimum rates should be adopted.

Members supported the need to protect the founding principles of the NUJ, reminding journalists of the value of membership. Whether there should be reform on who can join the union was explored by members, with many repeatedly referencing the quality service provided.

Reaching early career journalists, seeking opportunities to inform of trade union benefits and the union’s offer to students also featured in conversations.

Members are encouraged to share any further thoughts for consideration to [email protected] 

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