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© 1999 NUJ & contributors;
moral rights asserted
Last modified: 08 Nov 1999
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Democracy wall

ADM - "Annual Delegate Meeting" - is the body which decides Union policy and priorities. It will next take place in Ennis, in the Republic of Ireland, in the Spring (hey, this year we suffered Eastbourne in March). The process of setting the agenda starts, so far as London Freelance Branch is concerned, at the meeting on Monday 8 November.

Motions for debate at ADM are put forward by Branches (and by other bodies such as the "Freelance Industrial Council", which deals with freelance issues in England and Wales).

If you want to propose a motion which you think LFB should put to ADM, please send it on paper to "LFB ADM, c/o Acorn House" (address opposite). If possible please also send it as a plain text email to us at editor@londonfreelance.org. All motions submitted will be posted on this page. If you want to see the motions before the November meeting and cannot get them from the Web, please send a stamped self-addressed envelope to the Freelance office at Acorn House, marked "LFB November", to arrive by 27 October. You as "proposer" of the motion to LFB will need to find a "seconder".

Successful motions are included in the ADM Draft Agenda, and the Branch will have the chance to put up amendments to motions (including its own) later.

The November meeting also needs to nominate candidates for the new National Executive Committee (NEC), to be elected by postal vote. The numbers are the total places to be elected.

  • London seats 6
  • SE England seat 1
  • Freelance seat 1

And the meeting has to nominate people to Freelance Industrial Council (FIC), the Union committee which co-ordinates freelance affairs in England & Wales.

Finally, it needs to nominate candidates for the following Union groups and committees which are elected at ADM:

  • Equality Council 7
  • Disabled Members' Council 7
  • Appeals Tribunal 9
  • Journalist Editorial Advisory Board 7
  • ADM Standing Orders Committee 5
  • TUC Delegation 3
  • Women's TUC Delegation 4-ish

  1. Fairness at work and freelances
  2. Independent financial advice
  3. The US Blockade of Cuba
  4. Freedom to report
  5. Mumia Abu-Jamal
  6. Magazine & book organiser
  7. Yugoslavia
  8. Recruitment
  9. Rail safety & privatisation
  10. Public service broadcasting
  11. 1% rule
  12. Media Ownership and Technological Convergence

Fairness at work and freelances

This ADM recognises that

  • fair rates and conditions for freelances benefit both staff and freelances as low rates give publishers and broadcasters an incentive to cut jobs and to use regular freelances as a substitute without offering proper employment conditions
  • the Fairness at Work legislation should increase the opportunities for both staff and freelances to negotiate pay and conditions agreements, and to restrict the use of freelances as a substitute for employment of staff
  • staff/freelance co-operation is crucial, whether pay and conditions agreements are negotiated for staff and freelances separately or together This ADM notes that the key elements of freelance conditions should be: a minimum freelance day rate at least 1.66 of a notional "staff day rate" based on the salary divided by the number of days worked, to counterbalance the lack of security and extra costs born by freelances; acceptance of freelances9 right to retain copyright and be paid for additional uses of their material such as websites and syndication; and payment 30 days after delivery, not after publication.

This ADM further notes that

  • the freelance office now has an e-mail database of all freelances and the places where they work and
  • freelance branches and freelance industrial council (FIC) are sponsoring networks of freelances working for different publishers and broadcasters.

This ADM therefore instructs the national executive committee (NEC) to

  • remind staff and freelances of the importance of having freelance representation on their chapel committees where possible
  • encourage chapels and freelances (whether in branches and/or networks and/or individually, and in consultation with the FIC) to consult and work together on recognition campaigns and pay and conditions negotiations
  • ensure that the ratification and signing of combined and separate staff and freelance agreements is co-ordinated
  • ensure that the decision to recommend (or not) ratification of agreements to the NEC is made by the appropriate industrial councils, always including FIC where there is either a separate freelance agreement or a combined staff and freelance agreement to be signed.
List of motions

Independent financial advice

This ADM believes that many Union members would benefit from access to independent financial advice on matters such as pensions and insurance. It therefore urges the NEC to look into the possibility of providing such a service for the membership and, if feasible organising it as soon as possible and in any case, reporting back to ADN 20001 on its findings.

List of motions

The US Blockade of Cuba

ADM applauds the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook for making clear the Labour Government's opposition to the US policy of trying to blockade Cuba in his speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton in 1999.

ADM agrees with Mr Cook's opinion that human rights will not improve in Cuba unless the blockade policy ends. Indeed, ADM takes the view, in agreement with the American organisation Human Rights Watch in its latest report on the island, that the US policy "has not only failed to bring about human rights improvements in Cuba but has become counterproductive."

ADM reaffirms its view that the US policy of blockading Cuba is illegal under international law, immoral because it denies food and medicine to children and the sick, and is a failure because it has neither succeeded in its aim of removing Fidel Castro from power nor has it prevented the Cuban economy from developing. ADM therefore believes the blockade should be immediately and unconditionally lifted and that Britain should do all it can to oppose this policy.

ADM is therefore delighted by recent British initiatives such as the rescheduling of Cuba's debt and the deal by the drugs company SmithKline Beecham to market Cuba's meningitis vaccine.

ADM calls upon the executive to do the following:

  1. Write to the Rt. Hon. Robin Cook, congatulating him upon the Labour Government's position against the US blockade and underlining the NUJ's opposition to it.
  2. Organise a ballot of members in order affiliate the NUJ to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
  3. Make a donation of £500 and pledge the Union's name to the CSC's "Sign up for Cuba!" campaign which calls for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the US blockade. ADM would like to see the Union's name among the published list of all signatories to the campaign which CSC will place in a National Newspaper before the UN General Assembly meets to vote on the blockade issue at its meeting in October, 2000.
  4. Ask the editor of The Journalist to give space to an article which highlights the role of the US government in financing and fomenting opposition in Cuba, in particular the financing of anti-Castro newsgroups, websites and so-called "independent" journalists.
  5. Ask the International Department to organise a fact-finding mission to Cuba and Miami so that an objective NUJ report can be compiled which will explain as far as possible the facts surrounding the situation of free expression in both places. The report to be made available to all editors and broadcast news producers.
List of motions

Freedom to report

ADM notes with concern:

  1. Continuing evidence of hindrance of members' attempts to report public order situations, ranging from police requests to "move for your own safety" to arrest;
  2. Poor functioning of the Press Card system, particularly outside London, with reports that police officers are not recognising it; and
  3. On the other hand, threats to members from demonstrators convinced that photographs will be delivered to the police and used in evidence against them.

ADM welcomes Judge Henry Pownall's decision at the Old Bailey on 2 July 1999 to refuse a City of London Police demand to seize journalists' films, notes and tapes from the events in the City on June 18; congratulates the Guardian, Independent, Times, Reuters, BBC, ITN, Channel 4 News and Sky TV for successfully opposing the demand; and castigates those news organisations which failed to oppose it.

ADM therefore instructs the NEC to:

  1. Publicise the existence of the Press Card and the proper opearation of the PIN number asssociated with it directly to police officers in the UK and Ireland;
  2. Initiate dialogue with the Metropolitan Police, the Association of Chief Police Officers and other bodies to improve awareness of the need for free and open reporting;
  3. Produce a report for the next NUJ Delegate Meeting on opportunities for NUJ input to police training, especially public order training;
  4. Campaign vigorously for the principle that no journalist nor publisher nor broadcaster shall hand images or notes to the police or criminal justice system unless compelled to do so by an effective court order;
  5. Publicise to NUJ members the options for relinquishing control of sensitive material; and
  6. Publicise to all concerned the NUJ's determination that members will resist all attempts to compromise their independence by associating them with the criminal justice system, by seizure of images and notes or otherwise.
List of motions

Mumia Abu-Jamal

ADM expresses its apalled horror at the death sentence passed on Philadelphia journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and instructs the NEC to:

  1. express the NUJ's support for the demand for a retrial; and
  2. disburse up to £1000 to reimburse individual members' initiatives in publicising UK journalists' opposition to this death sentence directly to the people of Pennsylvania.
List of motions

Magazine & book organiser

ADM calls upon the Executive to employ a full-time organiser for the Magazine and Book sectors, and to ensure that the candidate selected receives proper training in the legal aspects of copyright and contract law so that he/she may better serve the many hundreds of freelances who also work in those sectors.

List of motions

Yugoslavia

ADM deplores the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without a UN mandate and calls upon the Executive to make its views known to the Labour Government. ADM further deplores the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. ADM takes the view that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO is no longer a necessary alliance and should be dissolved so that international peace-keeping and disputes may be wholly settled by a reformed and strengthened United Nations based upon the principles of accountability, democracy and the sovereignty of nation states.

List of motions

Recruitment

ADM calls upon the Executive to put more resources into active recruitment campaigning and to ensure that there will be adequate resources available in the future to further this end. This should begin with a new recruitment leaflet and a national advertising campaign. ADM feels that the time is right for a campaign specifically aimed at recruiting members in the electronic publishing industry.

List of motions

Rail safety & privatisation

ADM is appalled at the woeful lack of safety on Britain's railways and calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission to look into the future of Britain's rail infrastructure, in particular at the efficacy of privatisation. In view of the considerable doubts raised as a result of the Paddington disaster, ADM calls upon HM Government to cancel all plans for the privatisation of the London Underground and Air Traffic Control.

List of motions

Public service broadcasting

ADM is in favour of public service broadcasting paid for by the licence fee. It calls upon the Executive to finance an active campaign in defence of the concept of a publicly accountable broadcasting service. This campaign should be orchestrated in consultation with the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.

List of motions

1% rule

This ADM recognises the need to encourage low-paid members of the union to join but notes that the existence of two levels of reduced membership contributions - 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent of taxable income - is confusing and administratively unsatisfactory, placing an extra burden on the membership department as well as substantially reducing income to the union. ADM therefore instructs the NEC to amend the rules to return to the principle of having only one level of reduced membershp contributions, and to make that 1 per cent of taxable income.

List of motions

Media Ownership and Technological Convergence

This ADM recognises:

  • The growing concentration of media and communications ownership leading to a monopoly of news, entertainment and information.
  • The digital convergence of telecomms, video and data technologies.
  • The implications this has for communications and media workers and their unions (NUJ, Writers' Guild (WG), Society of Authors (SoA), Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU), Actors Equity, Musicians Union (MU), Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the Society of Telecom Executives (STE))

This ADM therefore instructs the National Executive Committee (NEC) to:

  • Draw up a policy statement on the ownership of mass media and digital convergence of technology by ADM 2001.
  • Hold discussions with the above unions and societies on media ownership concentration and digital convergence and its consequences for our members and publish the results to branches.
  • Report to ADM 2001 on the possibility of forming a Confederation of Media and Communication Unions, comprised of the above unions. This might include sharing facilities for legal aid; premises; educational facilities; research and library; membership services and so on.
List of motions