Are you in the NUJ and also the Society of Authors?

Vote on SoA constitution - 27/09/12

NUJ members who are also members of the Society of Authors - another body representing writers - should be aware of proposed changes to its constitution, which would appear to have the effect of turning the organisation into a Limited Company rather than a trade union.

An NUJ member is leading a campaign calling for greater democracy in the SoA. Paris-based Gregor Dallas, who was last year elected to the SoA Management Committee, is keen that changes to the organisation's historic constitution being tabled at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 27 September are not accepted - and that authors become more involved in deciding a professional fate too heaving weighted in favour of the global publishing industry.

Dallas is now calling on NUJ members who also belong to the SoA to register their opposition to the proposals - and to turn up at the AGM in London to vote against them.

SoA members have until Thursday 13 September to respond to a consultation or propose alternative resolutions.

Dallas - together with supporters who are also freelance members of the NUJ - are drafting a resolution condemning the proposals as "undemocratic" and calling for the SoA's constitution to be properly redrafted to encourage member participation, and re-presented at the 2014 AGM.

A Googlegroup has been set up for NUJ members interested in supporting this alternative strategy. Anyone interested in joining should email: campaignforauthorsdemocracy@mail.com confirming that they are members of both organisations and their names will be added.

Dallas said: "In essence the whole tenor of the proposed constitution is wrong. It offers the members less democracy whereas it should be offering us more.

"It creates a company in the place of the already top-heavy association we now have."

Such a structure would, Dallas says, result in an "authoritarian body, unresponsive to the 9000 members and, indeed, unresponsive to the now pressing needs of authors."

There's a commentary on the constitution on Gregor Dallas's website - this compares SoA decision-making with the more democratic processes of the NUJ.

NUJ and Soa member Jenny Vaugan comments: "SoA has nothing like the transparency of the NUJ, and although it seems to want to make itself marginally more democratic, it's really not achieving the complete change of mind-set that some of us would like to see. I believe that building up grassroots activity within the SoA must take priority over squabbles about the almost entirely opaque constitution."

Society of Authors members who are logged in to the Society's website can view the old and proposed constitutions at www.societyofauthors.org/constitution-consultation - and if any member needs reminding about their log-in details they can email info@societyofauthors.org

Last modified: 10 Sep 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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