Media workers voted today at their union’s conference to make policy and instruct its executive only every two years.
Delegates at the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) conference in Newcastle were asked to support the proposal by the National Executive Council to only meet biennially as it would help save the union money at a time when it is in financial difficulties.
Outgoing president Donnacha DeLong spoke on the delegate meeting floor and said it was not just about the money but would also give officers more time to achieve things passed at conference. He also said it would allow more events to take place during the interim year.
Activists including an Alliance for Workers’ Liberty member opposed the move also on the grounds of cost – at what price democracy? The decision went to a counted vote and was only passed extremely narrowly, with 82 delegates voting for and 79 against.
Having an active and fighting trade union which is democratic includes allowing its members to make decisions, instruct its officers and hold them to account by scrutinising their actions over the past year.
Changing this to a two-yearly event weakens this ability and therefore weakens democracy too.
We support there being more activities and initiatives in-between conferences, and reducing the costs of them.
The left in the NUJ will have to look hard at itself and its failure to stop the move to two-yearly Delegate Meetings, as well as other failures.
The NUJ Left has not functioned properly for years and recent attempts to revive it have not got far.