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Informed NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE issue 33 Nov 2020


An unprecedented year for the NUJ


journalism at its heart: tax credits for Jobs for Journalists, for local businesses taking out advertising, and for people taking out print or digital news subscriptions. Te Scotish government set up a


It was the last meeting of the year for the union’s national executive commitee (NEC) – and what a year it has been for the industry, the union and everyone’s lives. As the coronavirus’ second wave


batered the globe, England went into a second lockdown, following the greater restrictions imposed by the rest of the UK, Ireland and Europe. Newspaper industry leaders said they were braced for another freefall in advertising, just as fortunes appeared to be on the turn following the depredations caused by the first lockdown. Te NEC praised the work of union officials who had spent recent months dealing with redundancies across all sectors. More than 2,000 job losses are at risk at the BBC, a further 1,000 across local and national newspapers, and thousands of freelances have had work cancelled and seen commissions dry up. Te Chancellor’s extensions to the


Also in this issue:


Michelle’s Message Page 2


furlough scheme to March (reviewable in January) and announcement of a third self-employed income support grant came too late for many. Rishi Sunak also failed to use this opportunity to remedy his lack of support for the many freelances who had fallen through the cracks of the financial aid schemes. Tat is why the union is launching its #FairDeal4Freelances campaign for beter rights and protection for the self- employed, calling on the government and companies to stop giving freelances such a shabby deal. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary,


told the NEC the union’s News Recovery Plan to help the industry out of the crisis was gaining traction. Ministers and officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have held discussions over the NUJ’s three- pronged tax credit proposal to undo the damage caused by Covid-19 and to reboot the media industry with public interest


Safety Report Page 4


short-term working party to examine the future of public interest journalism and the Welsh culture and communications commitee took evidence from the NUJ on supporting the media. Te Welsh Executive Council is holding a town hall event on Wednesday 9 December to discuss a recovery plan for Wales with Michelle and actor and activist Michael Sheen. Te general secretary and Seamus Dooley, assistant general secretary, made a presentation of the Northern Ireland Recovery Plan to junior ministers at the Office of the First Minister and Deputy Minister. In the Republic of Ireland, aſter much lobbying, a working journalist and, as it happens an NUJ member, was appointed to the Media Commission (page 6). John Barsby, honorary treasury, told the NEC that finances were stable albeit with constrained underlying circumstances. Te combination of robust recruitment in workplaces undergoing consultations over job losses, savings from having to move the union’s work and business online and distributing Te Journalist digitally had helped offset increases to the union’s pension deficit programme and reduced rent from tenants in Headland House. Another important piece of the union’s work has been taking part in the government’s National Commitee for the Safety of Journalists; a survey of members showed the startling levels of violence and abuse experienced by members (page 4). Tis, together with a set of recommendations, formed a hard- hiting report which will feed into the commitee’s action plan.


Freelance Charter Page 9


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