Wales TUC Congress 2022
NUJ motions on the privatisation of Channel 4 and public interest journalism in Wales were passed.
Channel 4 Privatisation
The opening day of the Wales TUC congress in Llandudno saw union delegates agree to support and join the National Union of Journalists’ campaign against the privatisation of Channel 4. David Nicholson from the NUJ proposed the union's emergency motion after the announcement of the sell-off in the recent Queen’s Speech.
He told Congress that the sale of the broadcaster could damage the highly acclaimed C4 news and put at risk the news team working out of Cardiff and covering Welsh news for the broadcaster.
Conference heard that C4 news also uses many independent production companies in Wales and this vibrant creative sector would be at risk facing privatisation.
Congress agreed the general council will work with affiliates and the creative industry in Wales to campaign against the privatisation of Channel 4 and stop the selling of a valued public asset.
Simon Curtis from the trade union Equity, and Sian Gale from the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (Bectu) both spoke in support of the NUJ and explained the impact of C4 privatisation on the creative sector.
WTUC General Council
David Nicholson was elected to the Wales TUC general council for the next two years.
“It is an honour to have been elected at the Wales TUC to be on the general council representing the NUJ. I will ensure that our union plays a full part in the vital work of the WTUC in Wales."
NUJ/Federation of Entertainment Unions fringe meeting
The NUJ was also active on the conference fringe and organised a popular meeting with sister unions in the Federation of Cultural Unions in Wales.
The fringe meeting was chaired by Shav Taj, WTUC general secretary and discussed the challenges, priorities and opportunities for the creative industries in Wales.
The NUJ spoke about its work on the tripartite working party on public interest journalism in Wales set-up by Dawn Bowden, Culture and Media Minister. David Nicholson told the meeting that the working party was looking at journalism in Wales as a public service and that it was imperative that we have a more diverse pool of people coming into journalism.
Bowden was a guest speaker at the fringe and pledged her continued support for the work of the NUJ in improving journalism in Wales. She highlighted the £100,000 the Welsh Government had given the working party this year to be distributed to community news organisations across Wales.
Public Interest Journalism in Wales
On day two, the NUJ's motion on public interest journalism in Wales was supported by congress with keen interest in how it would positively impact on the work of the union movement in Wales.
David Nicholson told congress:
"The NUJ has been campaigning for a long time about the declining and weak media landscape in Wales and when we met with media minister Dawn Bowden to talk about the NUJ recovery plan for Wales we wanted positive action to flow and to happen sooner rather than later.
"Dawn Bowden agreed with the NUJ that something had to be done to improve media coverage of Wales and build a better news structure.
"The tripartite working group on public interest journalism in Wales is looking at radical solutions.
"The Wales TUC is also part of the journalism working party to help us ensure that we build back better in journalism in a way that also improves the pay and conditions of our members.”
BBC licence fee
The NUJ also seconded Bectu’s motion condemning the government’s announcement of the two-year BBC licence fee freeze. The NUJ reminded delegates that as cuts are made at the BBC our members will be adversely affected. The NUJ set-out that our members at the BBC could not be expected to carry out the same range of work, but with less people and resources.