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Union endorses controversial Drogheda Independent agreement

3 August 2007 - EPUK

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has refused to reject the controversial Drogheda Independent House Agreement. The proposed deal would see the union gaining a closed shop agreement and better terms for reporters, in return for agreeing that they can take photographs as part of their job.

In a statement released today, the Emergency Committee of the NUJ’s National Executive Committee (NEC) said there was “no impediment, either under rule or policy, to the signing of the Drogheda Independent house agreement by chapel officers and the appropriate officials of the NUJ.”

The statement added: “The Committee expresses its full confidence in the leadership of the chapel which conducted lengthy negotiations in an open and consultative manner.”

The statement can be read in full here

In doing so it has rejected the recommendation from the Irish Executive Council (IEC) that the proposed house agreement should be rejected.

The IEC last week voted 8 to 7 in favour of a motion “call[ing] on the National Executive Council to reject the Drogheda Independent House Agreement and to show leadership in assisting the chapel involved in re-negotiating the Agreement”

The deal sees pay rises of up to Eu6000 for reporters, and the establishment of a ‘closed shop’ agreement. While there are no staff photographers on the title, the titles use freelance photographers and one contract photographer, all of whom look set to be affected by the decision.

Just four months ago, the agreement would have been against the union’s own rulebook which stated that reporters should not normally do the job of photographers.

The final decision, which looks set to strongly influence perceptions of the the union’s attitudes towards freelance photographers, was taken by just the six members of the Emergency National Executive Committee. General Secretary Jeremy Dear was not present at the meeting.

The second motion passed last week by the IEC, which asked the NEC to make a statement condemning the use of cameras by reporters, included the word “immediately”. The use of this word was taken to mean that both IEC motions, including the Drogheda Independent motion which did not include the word, should be dealt with at an emergency meeting of the NEC, rather than the full 27-strong NEC which is not set to meet for another six weeks.

Unlike the full NEC, the emergency NEC has no photographer members.

The statement closed with: “This Committee condemns the abusive attacks and smears on the union and its officials in relation to this issue. The Committee places on record its complete confidence in all officials involved in negotiating the Drogheda Independent agreement.”

Several photographers had told EPUK last week that they intended to leave the union if the deal was passed.

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This was quite a while ago. I was blacked by the NUJ in Kilkenny back in the early Seventies ( as far as I know I’m still blacked now in 2013) for working as a freelance writer and freelance photographer for the then Kilkenny edition of the “Munster Express” in Waterford.
I was getting fifteen pounds a week for writing a broadside page of a general column plus supplying six photographs a week.
It happened because the staff photographer on the local “Kilkenny People” newspaper wanted it all to himself and was , and still is, paranoid about anybody else in the business.
He had several Chapel and Branch meetings held to deal with me.
At the time I had no other employment and I was struggling, living at home in a council house as the eldest of 13 children, my late father being an ambulance driver. To the contrary my protagonist’s wife was a national teacher and they were comparatively well off as he carried on a large business as well.
So, as you can imagine, I developed a lifelong bitterness against the NUJ.
Today I’m gone beyond caring- yer man is dying of cancer, the world has moved on, and I didn’t do too badly after all.
No thanks to an uncaring NUJ.

Comment 1: Michael McGrath, 26 March 2013, 09:31 am

your_ip_is_blacklisted_by sbl.spamhaus.org

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