London Freelance Branch meetings

LFB meetings are at 7pm on the second Monday of each month (except August), generally at Friends House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ: go directly to the meeting schedule (or to this month's motions.)

For the benefit of members coming in from shifts and so on, there are sandwiches.

Please check back here - meeting subjects and speakers inevitably change from time to time. To be sure of receiving our monthly email alert and virtual Freelance listing, give us your details at www.londonfreelance.org/linkup.

Volunteer minute-takers are still needed for some Branch meetings. Please contact a committee member if you are interested: see contacts.

NOTE that under the Branch rules any motion proposing that the Branch donate any money to any other organisation or event must be sent, in writing, to the Freelance editors ten days before the meeting date: see below for a handy form for submitting motions.

The Branch also organises meetings for members new to freelance journalism, to meet other people new to the Branch and members with more experience of freelance journalism. These take place at the Camera Café, Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY on the last Thursday of every third month from 6pm: check specific announcements in the Freelance.

Date Speaker/subject
Mon Jan 09 Annual General Meeting 2017: elected a new Committee. Notes on AGMs here.
Thu Jan 26 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon Feb 13 A life in crime (reporting): Duncan Campbell
Sat Mar 11 Being freelance in the age of precarious labour
Mon Mar 13 Post-Brexit ethics with Chris Frost, Hugo Dixon & Nicholas Jones
Mon Apr 10 Protecting your sources: advice from Mike Holderness and Merion Jones
Thu Apr 27 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon May 08 Sue Turton & Vaughan Smith on reporting safely from dangerous places
Mon Jun 12 Tax and National Insurance - what to do
Mon Jul 10 How did journalism manage to cover the election?
Thu Jul 13 Freelance Salon
Thu Jul 27 Meeting for members new to freelancing
August No meeting
Mon Sep 11

Provisionally: a panel of speakers on how to make money by diversifying, for example into copywriting, speechifying, selling prints of pictures...

Mon Oct 09

Provisionally: handling the aftermath of reporting traumatic events

Thu Oct 26 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon Nov 13 To be announced
Mon Dec 11 Almost certainly, a Branch social event
Mon Jan 08 2018 Annual General Meeting 2018: elects a new Committee. More notes on what it does here.

The Branch Committee welcomes suggestions for speakers and topics for meetings: contact editor@londonfreelance.org.

map of Friends' House, Euston Road
For LFB meetings use the entrance in Friends' House garden - accessible from Euston Road only now.

Friends' House is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The nearest stops on the Tube are Euston (Victoria and both Northern Lines) and Euston Square (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and, when the Moon is full, the Circle Line). Euston is also served by London Overground, London Midland and Virgin Trains (and, for completists, the ScotRail sleeper).

If you need the Branch to pay for care for a dependant to be able to attend a meeting, contact a Branch officer.

Motions for the September meeting:

None notified to the Freelance yet.

The motions archive

Motions for the July meeting

Grenfell Tower
passed in the form below

London Freelance Branch expresses solidarity with the survivors of the Grenfell Tower and the community of North Kensington and pledges to find ways to offer long-term support.

The Branch calls on members to consider sharing their expertise or skills with the community and asks them to contact the Committee to help us liaise with support organisations on the ground to fill gaps in the long-term support provided.

People affected are understandably upset at some media coverage. The Branch resolves to approach the Union's Ethics Committee to offer assistance developing guidelines for journalists dealing with people suffering in disasters. Immediately, it will promote on www.londonfreelance.org a reminder to journalists of their obligations under the NUJ Code of Conduct.

The Branch resolves to make a donation of £500 for the survivors through thekandcfoundation.com

The wellbeing of journalists covering disasters
passed

London Freelance Branch urges the NUJ National Executive Council to campaign in conjunction with the NUJ Health & Safety Committee for both freelance and staff journalists working for small news organisations and those in the local sector to be given the necessary support to protect their mental well-being when covering such terrible events such as Grenfell Tower fire and the 2017 Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks.

Solidarity
passed in the form below

London Frelance Branch expresses solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the emergency services in carrying out their harrowing work dealing with the recent terror attacks in Manchester, on London Bridge and at Finsbury Park and the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, that claimed the lives of those living there.

We stand in solidarity with the FBU, Unite, The Royal College of Nursing and also members of the Police Federation.

Pursuing precarity (1)
remitted to the Committee

To follow up on our event on precarious working, London Freelance Branch resolves to start by organising online columns which are likely to include:

  • A Precarity Journal in which we interview gig workers to record their working lives - with a guarantee of anonymity if requested; and
  • An "agony aunt" responding to a range of problems presented by precarious workers.

Initially, these will be published on www.londonfreelance.org

Interviewing and editing will be carried out by the Assistant Editor of the Freelance, remunerated initially as for one issue of the newsletter.

Pursuing precarity (2)
not taken (because the above was remitted)

A "best of" selection of the Precarity Journal and Agony Aunt will be produced as a special printed issue of the Freelance, to be available for use by other unions that organise precarious workers. This will support discussuions with those other unions on how to organise precarious workers, alongside postings on other social platforms such as Instagram.

The quotes we have for printing such an edition are:

Quantity: 10,000 30,000
2-colour £1590 £1810
full colour £3350 £3720

The Committee shall therefore be empowered to decide on the best presentation up to the maximum above.

London Freelance Branch Banner
not taken (ran out of time)

London Freelance Branch currently has no usable banner for use on demonstrations, as a backdrop at conferences and so on. It therefore agrees to ask the branch committee to look into the cost of designing and producing such a banner and report back to the branch for approval to go ahead and commission the banner.

London Freelance Branch Banner: amendment

Insert at the beginning of the above motion:

There have been complaints that the current branch banner is too heavy to carry for long periods on demonstrations. Therefore we ask the branch to agree that representatives from the committee assess the weight and state of repair of the current banner. If they deem it necessary, to look into the costs of commissioning a replacement light weight banner replicating the current design.


Motions for the June meeting

Pursuing precarity
Remitted to committee

To follow up on our event on precarious working, London Freelance Branch should start by organising online columns which are likely to include:

  • A Precarity Journal in which anonymous gig workers record their working lives; and
  • An "agony aunt" responding to a range of problems presented by precarious workers.

There should be a special issue of the Freelance, to be available for use by other unions that organise precarious workers, which will present a "best of" selection from the online columns. This will support discussuins with those other unions on how to organise precarious workers, alongside postings on other social platforms such as Instagram.

The cost will be approximately £750 for Freelance editors' time in compiling this and a further £1500 for printing (subject to amendment for print-run).

Stop Murdoch Now - CPBF
passed

LFB again notes the appeal from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (to which the branch is affiliated) to fund its "Stop Murdoch Now" campaign.

LFB still supports the aim of this campaign, to stop Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox corporation buying up Sky TV. If the acquisition was allowed to go ahead it would increase the Murdochs' media power in the UK to an unacceptable level.

LFB notes that the CPBF is appealing for funds to pay for campaign materials and agrees to donate a further £100.


Motions for the May meeting

Stop Murdoch Now - CPBF
Passed: amended to £400

LFB notes the appeal from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (to which the branch is affiliated) to fund its "Stop Murdoch Now" campaign.

LFB supports the aim of this campaign, to stop Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox corporation buying up Sky TV. If the acquisition was allowed to go ahead it would increase the Murdochs' media power in the UK to an unacceptable level.

LFB notes that the CPBF is appealing for funds to pay for campaign materials and agrees to donate £100.


Motions for the March meeting

Confirming February's motions

This Branch formally confirms the votes taken at the February meeting to support the TUC Women's Committee, the film on reporting poverty, and the meeting on 6 March opposing the deportation of Amitt Bhatt.

Ivory Coast should not jail journalists

London Freelance Branch condemns the imprisonment of Ivory Coast journalist HAMADOU ZIAO of publication l'Inter, by the Ivorian authorities. As well as the imprisonment of other Ivorian journalists: VAMARA COULIBALY of l'Inter & Soir Info, YACOUBA GBANE of LG Infos & le Temps, BAMBA FRANCK MAMADOU of Notre Voie, JEAN BEDEL GNAGNO of Soir Info and FERDINAND BAILLY of LG Infos & Le Temps.

The Branch understands that from 12 - 14 February 2017, journalist HAMADOU ZIAO was held in the Ivorian special forces camp at Agban, accused of placing "fake or bad news" in the Ivorian newspaper l'inter. Following his two-day detention in the Agpan army camp HAMADOU ZIAO underwent trial without legal representation, before being released.

London Freelance Branch therefore reiterates the request made by its Committee to the National Union of Journalists' National Executive Council to urge the International Federation of Journalists to make further representations to the Ivorian President Alhassane Dramane Ouattara, reminding his government to respect the freedom of the press and to desist from imprisoning Ivorian journalists for carrying out their profession and to cease threatening independent newspapers over their coverage of the recent mutinies of the Ivorian army.


Motions for the February meeting

TUC Women's Committee
Passed, amended to £100

LFB agrees to donate £50 to the TUC Women's Committee to help pay for a celebration of International Women's Day on Wednesday 8 March.

LFB notes that although the one-off event is being partly sponsored by the TUC and by Thompsons Solicitors, there is still a shortfall. The donations are sought to pay for food, drink, speakers and live music at this event, which will bring together Women's Conference delegates and other trade unionists and friends of the trade union movement.

Film on reporting poverty
Passed

LFB agrees to donate £100 to the NUJ Manchester branch to help produce a film on reporting poverty.


Motions for the January meeting (Annual General Meeting)

Updating Branch Standing Orders

This Branch resolves to amend its Standing Orders as follows

  1. In Standing Order 1 delete the words
    The Secretary shall present minutes of the Annual General Meeting to the next Branch meeting held in the normal venue (i.e. usually March) for its determination that they are as full and true record of decisions.
    and replace them with
    The Secretary shall present minutes of the Annual General Meeting to the next Branch meeting held in a following month in the normal venue for its determination that they are a full and true record of decisions.
  2. In Standing Order 10 replace the words "Rule 18(1)" with the words "the Union's Rule on Discipline [currently Rule 24(f)iii]"
  3. In Standing Order 11 after the words "The Committee shall meet at least monthly" insert the words "(though it may vote not to meet in August or in December)"
  4. Delete the whole of Standing Order 14 and replace it with:
  5. Money motions shall not be considered unless published at www.londonfreelance.org /lfb /meetings.html#motions not less than one week before the meeting at which they are to be debated. All those members for whom the Branch holds a working email address shall be re-notified of the meeting and reminded of any such motions by email not less than one week before the meeting.

Branch action plan 2017

This Branch resolves to adopt the activity plan for 2017 that sets out general policy and specific actions for the year.

(Note: the draft is here (PDF) and amendments to it may be proposed and, if seconded, voted on at the AGM.)


Motions for the January meeting (ordinary meeting)

  • Note that the first two of these are "holding motions" written by the Freelance editor solely to give sufficient notice that there will be a debate. They may be amended or withdrawn at the meeting.

Support members at Penguin/Random House

This Branch resolves to donate £500 to the Penguin/Random House chapel in support of its campaign against de-recognition of the union by management.

Support members at Newsquest South London

This Branch resolves to donate £500 to the Newsquest South London chapel in support of its campaign against massive job cuts.

Lapsing Co-ordinator

Background: The September 2016 branch meeting agreed to appoint a lapsing co-ordinator "for a single lapsing run, in order to trial the process. If it is successful, i.e. the financial benefit of retaining branch members exceeds the cost of paying someone to call them, then a motion will be put to branch in January, to appoint and pay a Lapsing Members' Coordinator until such time as a nationwide scheme is in operation." (The rate agreed was £150 a day for up to five days work.) Branch committee was to advertise the post and make the appointment in November. LFB member Karen Thomas was duly selected from four good candidates.

The result (at time of writing this motion) was that 13 members "unlapsed", 12 of them full members, securing up to £2160 in subs. (If some are on one-per-cent-rule reduced subs and the 13 average £100 per year the total would be £1200). So, given that the financial benefit exceeded the cost by a wide margin:

The motion: This Branch resolves to reappoint Karen Thomas as Lapsing Members' Coordinator at £150 a day for up to five days work each quarter until such time as a nationwide scheme is in operation.