London Freelance Branch meetings

LFB meetings are at 6:45pm sharp on the second Monday of each month (except August). They are at NUJ HQ, Headland House, 72 Acton Street WC1X 9NB: go directly to the meeting schedule (or to this month's motions.)

Meetings this year start 15 minutes earlier than previously.
[NUJ London Freelance Branch]

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 for a meeting must be sent, in writing, to the Freelance editors ten days before the meeting date: see below for a handy form for submitting motions. See here for guidance on Tweeting and recording meetings.

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 (map) on the last Thursday of every third month from 6pm: check specific announcements in the Freelance.

Date Speaker/subject
Mon Jan 14 Annual General Meeting: elected the Committee and amended the rules. See reports from Branch officers.
Thu Jan 31 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon Feb 11 How three new freelances make a living
Mon Mar 11 "Dr. Brexit" advice session with Alison Stanley, Joint Head of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Team at Bindmans Solicitors
Mon Apr 08 Covering complex chaos: problems faced by writers and photographers
Thu Apr 25 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon May 13 How to make more money in specialist fields
Mon Jun 10 Ethical questions arising from using fixers
Mon Jul 08 Podcasting, it seems, is back
Thu Jul 25 Meeting for members new to freelancing
August No meeting
Wed Sep 04 An event with the Video Consortium
Mon Sep 09 Shorthand and transcription for fun and profit
Mon Oct 14 Helen Healy, Financial Times picture editor - @hheals
Thu Oct 31 Meeting for members new to freelancing
Mon Nov 11

Reporting religion is the theme of this meeting. Our speakers will include Ruth Peacock, Launch Director and Trustee of the Religion Media Centre, together with some of her colleagues.

Ruth is a former BBC reporter, producer and editor specialising in religious affairs. The Religion Media Centre (www.religionmediacentre.org.uk) has a mission to help "journalists and other media professionals to cover religion".

We also expect in this meeting to vote on some proposed motions from the Branch to go before the NUJ's Delegate Meeting (DM, its conference every two years: see here). The next one's in April in Southport, Lancashire.


Tue Nov 19 Another event with the Video Consortium
Mon Dec 09

We will have a festive end-of-year party for freelances whose existence is often overlooked at such corporate Xmas gatherings for staffers.

It starts at the usual time - 18:45 - but it's a different venue - St Anne's, 55 Dean St, W1D 6AF (map): nearest Tube Piccadilly Circus. There will be free food and some free drink.

Mon Jan 13 2020 Annual General Meeting 2020: elects a new Committee. More notes on what it does here.
Mon Feb 10 2020 David Ziggy Green, the creator of "Scene and Heard" in Private Eye (@SaHreports), will speak about being a reportage illustrator. Or should that be the reportage illustrator?

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

Headland House is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The nearest stops on the Tube are King's Cross St Pancras (Victoria, Picadilly, Northern Line City Branch, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and, when the Moon is full, the Circle Line).

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 November meeting

Video consortium event

This Branch resolves to host a second Video Consortium event on 19 November and to cover the costs of the basement room hire, estimated at £145.

NUJ Extra

This Branch resolves to donate from its management fund to the NUJ charity NUJ Extra the sum of £100 per month each month in the year 2020.

The motions archive - 2019

Motions for the October meeting

Seasonal party
passed

This Branch agrees to budget potential extra expenditure (compared to ordinary branch meetings) to cover circa an extra £180 for venue hire, circa an extra £110 for food, and drink circa an extra £300 plus sundries (paper plates etc) an extra £50 = a total of £640.

Membership
passed; amendment to delete final paragraph accepted by the mover

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to NUJ Delegate Meeting 2020:

This Delegate Meeting believes that the NUJ's current membership criteria are unsatisfactory. It notes that the union's rules demand that potential full members must be earning at least half their income from NUJ-eligible activities.

However, many individuals working in NUJ eligible areas, especially freelances, find that in order to survive at all, they must take on other, non-NUJ-eligible work.

If such work constitutes more than half their income, they are not eligible to join the NUJ, and are therefore deprived of the benefits in terms of protection of pay and conditions and advice that the union can offer them.

It also puts such people in a position from which they can undermine and undercut the pay and conditions of existing members by creating a pool of workers lacking union information, representation and protection.

DM therefore instructs the NEC to examine ways in which membership can be offered to those working in NUJ-eligible areas, who also have other work through which they make more income than from journalism.

DM further instructs the NEC, having carried out such an examination, to bring to DM 2022 recommendations as to how a form of membership (probably, but not necessarily, a variation on the current full membership rule rather than a new category) can be offered to those whose non-NUJ-eligible work constitutes (and is likely to continue to constitute) the larger part of their income.

This DM notes that this new framing of the membership criteria would not have any bearing on our position as a Press Card gatekeeper because Press Card Authority rules state that the card can be issued only to "professional newsgatherers" defined as those "wholly or significantly concerned... professionally as a media worker who needs to identify himself or herself in public... The principal occupations covered include reporters and writers, photographers, TV camera operators and crews, and other broadcasting workers such as producers, researchers, dispatch riders and drivers" (see www.ukpresscardauthority.co.uk).

Amazon Smile
passed; amendment to delete final paragraph accepted by the mover

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to NUJ Delegate Meeting 2020:

This Delegate Meeting notes with appreciation the excellent work done by the Union's charity, NUJ Extra. It is particularly appreciative of the support given to freelances, who are among the most vulnerable members of the union.

However, it regrets the charity's decision to take part in and sign up to Amazon Smile: the charitable arm of Amazon.

Under this system, NUJ Extra is included in a list of charities to which Amazon will donate 0.50 per cent of the cost of certain purchases, if requested by a customer. Thus, when NUJ members make a purchase from Amazon, they may ask for a donation to be made to NUJ Extra.

DM believes that in joining this system, NUJ Extra is, in effect, soliciting donations from Amazon - a company that is in dispute with trade unions in several countries, including the UK. These unions are attempting to secure recognition and improved working conditions for Amazon employees. In the UK, the main union in question is the GMB.

This Delegate Meeting therefore instructs the NEC to urge NUJ Extra to end its relationship with Amazon Smile.

It also instructs the NEC to apologise to the GMB for the action taken by NUJ Extra in signing up to Amazon Smile, in what appears to be a sad lack of solidarity with a sister union, which has been working hard for recognition at Amazon warehouses.

Help Afghan journalists
passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to NUJ Delegate Meeting 2020:

This Delegate Meeting welcomes LFB's letter of solidarity to Afghan journalists' unions in relation to the killing of 10 Afghan journalists in a single day on 30 April 2018 in Kabul by Taliban, and its efforts to draw the union's attention to the plights of Afghanistan journalists. In view of the union's past campaign in support of journalists in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, the union has the capacity to render a supporting hand to the beleaguered Afghanistan Journalists Federation (AJF).

This DM notes that decades of war and destruction in Afghanistan have brought that country to its knees. However, after the international intervention in the country post 9/11, a vibrant, unbiased and professional media outlets have emerged from the rubbles of wars - the emergence of which is critical in the promotion of education, democracy, rule of law, human rights and a permanent peace in the country. Therefore, this DM believes that as a union of journalists we are morally and professional obliged to help the fledgling Afghan media grow and thus engage with Afghanistan Federation of Journalists to together look out for ways to protect Afghan media from attacks and help them mature.

This DM therefore instructs the NEC to explore the many ways it can towards establishing a strategy that will enable the union to actively engage with Afghanistan Journalist Federation for the purpose stated above.

Copyright
passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to NUJ Delegate Meeting 2020:

This Delegate Meeting observes that, despite the false propaganda launched against it by and for certain internet corporations, the EU Directove on Copyright in the Digital Single Market offers significant advances toward levelling the playing field in favour journalists and other authors and performers. Contrary to the eructations of anti-copyright campaigners, free expression remains thoroughly unthreatened. and the internet remains equally unbroken.

The new rules mandate transparency of reporting of uses made of our work. There will be provision to "adjust" contracts in the case of windfall income to the exploiter of the work - and perhaps more generally. We will have a right to be represented by trades unions in such challenges. Journalists - in particular photographers - may gain signficant new income from those internet corporations, through collecting societies.

Thus DM therefore instructs the National Executive Council to do everything in its power, in collaboration with the Federation of Entertainment Unions and the Creators' Rights Alliance, to implement the policy proposed by the Musicians' Union to Trades Union Congress 2019 and adopted there that the provisions of the Directive should be implemented in UK regardless of what may happen in the UK's relationship to the EU.

Hiroshima & Nagasaki
passed

London Freelance Branch resolves to put the following motion to NUJ Delegate Meeting 2020:

This DM notes that on 6 and 9 August 2020 people around the world will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the terrible events which took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 with the first use of nuclear weapons in warfare which resulted in the deaths of over 240,000 civilians.

This DM notes too that as journalists we have a duty to ensure that questions around the development and use of nuclear weapons are properly and accurately reported, for example with regard to recent events such as the failure of Russia and the US to agree to new short-range nuclear warhead treaty.

It notes, too, the magnificent work trade unionists and specifically NUJ members have undertaken over the decades since World War Two to campaign against the use of nuclear weapons given the unimaginable impact this would have on the environment as well as the health and welfare of people around the world.

This DM instructs to the NEC to work together with other national and international organisations including the International Federation of Journalists as well as the UN-affiliated body ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) to ensure that we mark 6th and 9th August and never forget what nuclear warfare would really mean to succeeding generations.

Motions for the September meeting

Freedom to report
Passed nem con.

This Branch resolves to ask the NUJ urgently to contact the Labour Party to ensure that Asa Winstanly is able to report its Conference on DATE in PLACE.

Undercover Policing and Trade Unions conference
Passed nem con.

This Branch notes that there is a conference on Undercover Policing and Trade Unions at the University of Greenwich on Saturday 16 November 2019.

This Branch notes that several trade unions including construction workers' union UCATT are known to have been the target of blacklisting campaigns run by bodies such as the Consulting Organisation, while former undercover police officer Peter Francis has stated that some of the data on trade unionists found to have been illegally gathered by the Consulting Organisation could only have come from undercover police officers.

This Branch further notes that the NUJ unsuccessfully sought Core Participant Status in the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI), and the comments made by Mike Schwarz, a lawyer representing participants in the UCPI that since other trade unions were targeted by undercover policing and by corporate spies working with organisations such as the Consulting Organisation, there "must have been some undercover police" around the NUJ, adding that we "don't have - by definition - the evidence" of any such clandestine activity.

This Branch notes that NUJ freelance members as individuals are among the core participants in the UCPI, some of these were working as journalists covering actions now known to have been infiltrated by undercover police officers.

The Branch further notes that six Data Protection Act requests by journalists, now members of NUJ London Freelance Branch, revealed that police had gathered intelligence on them while they were in the course of their work as journalists.

This Branch encourages members to attend the conference and to promote it, and agrees to send NUJ LFB delegates to the conference as requested of trade union branches by its organisers. The conference organisers include the Blacklisting Support Group and the Undercover Research Group, who have done excellent research in revealing undercover police officers in activist groups. The conference is free to attend and union branches do not need to affiliate with any of the bodies organising the conference to send delegates. Details are here.

Motions for the July meeting

Women in photography
passed

On 19 June 2019, there was an Union organised conference, Women in Photography, at the NUJ national office at 72 Acton Street.

The Freelance Industrial Council contributed £250 toward the speakers' fares and the sandwich lunch expenses There was a small charge to delegates.

LFB agrees to donate £200, as suggested by the organisers, as this is the outstanding balance.

Motions for the May meeting

Video consortium event:
Passed, amended as indicated

This Branch resolves to host and fund an event on 12 June 4 September to showcase the work of freelance non-fiction filmmakers. This will be a two-hour event with film screenings / Q&A hosted by LFB and Video Consortium. VC run events in cities around the world and have just launched a London chapter, which is run by volunteer video journalists, so a great opportunity to connect NUJ with a wider creative audience. The cost for the NUJ basement room hire is £145 including VAT.

World Press Freedom event
deferred

This Branch resolves to explore participation in the World Press Freedom event [organised by the Commonwealth Office] in London.

  • More detail on this will appear as an amendment.
Motions for the April meeting

Wapping film
passed

London Freelance Branch agrees to respond to the appeal for funds from Platform Films, working with the News International Dispute Archive, to complete the documentary film Wapping, the Workers' Story.

The branch recalls its own support for the fight by printworkers and journalists together to resist the bullying management of Rupert Murdoch as he amassed the media empire that did so much damage to British society, culture and politics; especially the part played by NUJ members who sacrificed their own jobs and careers.

The branch applauds the fact this film is being made, to keep alive the memory of a heroic resistance to unacceptable media power and agrees to donate £500 to the project.

World Press Freedom event
held over

This Branch resolves to explore participation in the World Press Freedom event [organised by the Commonwealth Office] in London.

  • More detail on this will appear as an amendment.

Video consortium event
held over

This Branch resolves to host an event on 12 June to showcase the work of freelance non-fiction filmmakers. This will be a two-hour event with film screenings / Q&A hosted by LFB and Video Consortium. VC run events in cities around the world and have just launched a London chapter, which is run by volunteer video journalists, so a great opportunity to connect NUJ with a wider creative audience. The cost for the NUJ basement room hire is £145 including VAT.

Motions for the March meeting

Brexit advice
passed

This Branch resolves, to help branch members who are EU citizens working in the UK and UK members working in the EU or for EU clients, to commit up to £500 to support, in the event of Brexit happening, if required, one or two "Dr Brexit" advice sessions with a specialist solicitor - these to be organised, if required, by NUJ staff lawyer Roy Mincoff (estimated total cost £1000 a time).

Motions for the Annual General Meeting

Branch Standing Orders: officers
passed

In Standing Order 6 replace the words
"a Training Officer"
with the words
"up to two Training Officers"

Branch Standing Orders: treatment of fellow journalists
passed, amended to include "sex" before "gender"

NOTE: This was passed as policy at the meeting in July 2018 and this motion incorporates it formally into Standing Orders.

Insert into the Branch Standing Orders as item 4:

All Branch members shall treat fellow journalists and members with respect and with sensitivity toward equality issues relating to sex, gender identity, sexuality, age, nationality, race, religion, disability, class background, legal status and marital status. The branch aims to be an inclusive and supportive space where all members feel equally welcome and encouraged to contribute and take part. Where branch members experience conduct that falls short of this, they are encouraged to approach the branch's Welfare Officers to discuss how to address and resolve the situation.

Renumber subsequent points in Standing Orders.

Speakers at Branch meetings
passed, amended as indicated.

London Freelance Branch welcomes the range of guest speakers arranged for branch meetings.

The Branch resolves to invite speakers to all meetings except the AGM and instructs the branch committee to follow the following principles as much as possible in selecting them:

  • There should be no more than two speakers at any meeting;
  • There must be a good balance of speakers in terms of gender, race and age;
  • If speakers are working journalists eligible for NUJ membership they either must be members of the NUJ or another relevant union such as the BECTU sector of Prospect or have applied for membership;
  • Speakers will have expenses reimbursed (including overnight stay if necessary) but not be paid a fee;

If branch business is pressing, the Chair may delay the start of the speeches but not beyond the limit of allowing one hour within the standing orders (that is, by suspending the SOs to extend the meeting for up to half an hour).

Motions for the normal Janary Meeting

Confirmation of Freelance Salon funding
passed

This Branch formally confirms the decision of the November 2018 meeting to underwrite the Salon event by a further sum up to £300.

NOTE: The actual expenditure required from Branch Funds will be reported at the January 2019 meeting.

Solidarity with journalists in Afghanistan
passed

This Branch resolves to approach the Union's General Secretary, Chair of Policy Committee and Communications Officer to co-ordinate a request to chapels and other branches to contribute to building links with the journalists' union(s) in Afghanistan, including a possible delegation to that country.

Solidarity with journalists in Cumbria
passed, amended to £200

This Branch resolves to donate £100; to the hardship fund for NUJ members at Newsquest Cumbria who held a one-day strike on 20 December 2018 over a pay freeze and cuts.

The Branch notes that the strikers have lost a day's pay - a piddling £79 in some cases - and are contemplating further action.