Long-term low pay was a key issue at the NUJ’s delegate meeting. The conference also heard of growing unrest in the BBC, remembered lives lost

worldwide and called on the union to support its own magazine in print ALL PICTURES PAUL HERRMANN

Campaign to fight against low pay

The union is to launch a broad pay campaign – Journalists Need a Pay Rise – drawing on fights by other groups of workers to secure better conditions for the low-paid. A motion tabled by South Yorkshire branch to the NUJ’s biennial delegate meeting (DM) in Southport last month called on the national executive council (NEC) to launch a pay campaign across the union. It said: “This DM believes journalists, like other workers,

have effectively suffered pay cuts for too long. The time is right for a pay campaign across the whole union to launch initiatives – including calling for a minimum of the living wage for all freelance members – an activity that would act as a union drive and help build organisation in all sectors.” Julia Armstrong, a member of the South Yorkshire branch

who works on the Sheffield Star, said pay and conditions were at their worst in the many years she had been attending DM.

More action to support Persian service members

The union is to step up pressure on the Iranian authorities over the harassment of journalists working for the BBC’s Persian Service. The Iranian government has filed criminal

charges against almost all of the Iranian journalists who work for the Persian service in London, accusing them of conspiracy against

Iran’s national security. It has banned 152 staff from buying or selling property inside Iran – a measure that has effectively frozen their assets. A motion from the NEC said: “DM endorses the union’s campaigning efforts to date, and pledges to continue to support BBC Persian Service journalists’ call for global support and

solidarity to stop the targeting of journalists. The families living in Iran of the BBC journalists have also complained of harassment. Shayan Sardarizadeh, an Iranian citizen,

told delegates he was proud to work for the BBC. He said: “I’m very fortunate in working in a country that has free speech.”

Remembering journalists’ lives

Delegates gathered on the waterfront outside Southport’s Floral Hall for a silent tribute to the 162 journalists who have been killed worldwide since the last delegate meeting in 2016. Earlier the meeting heard from Anthony Bellanger,

06 | theJournalist

general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). He said: “In 2017, Mexico, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India were the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Last year, the IFJ reported 82

journalists had been killed – nearly 2,500 since 1990. “These statistics are

unacceptable because behind these figures are women and men, mothers and fathers – journalists killed precisely because they were journalists. Nothiang else.”

The campaign will also look at ways to close the gender pay gap which has been laid bare at the BBC and other media organisations after they had to publish statistics on pay equality. As well as running the Journalists Need a Pay Rise campaign,

DM also instructed the NEC to look at the potential benefit to NUJ members of the implementation of the living wage, as defined by the Living Wage Foundation of £8.75 an hour generally and £10.20 in London. The union is also going to attend more UK media

organisations’ shareholders’ meetings to raise concerns, and will be sending a group to the shareholders’ meeting of Newsquest’s US parent Gannett. Until last year, Newsquest staff had suffered a decade of pay freezes.

Like other workers, journalists have effectively suffered pay cuts for too long. The time is right for a pay campaign across the whole union

South Yorkshire branch

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