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NUJ takes campaigning priorities to STUC

NUJ Scotland delegates to the 2018 Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) in Aviemore have led the charge for increased representation of women.

The delegation comprised of Liz Ely, Simon Barrow, Jim Symonds and Scotland organiser Dominic Bascombe.

The NUJ motion challenging the representation of women in the media won support from all of the unions present at Congress, with many delegates queuing to speak during the debate.

The motion recognised the power of the media to affect the way that underrepresented groups see themselves and how consumers of media view them. It called for a joint and cohesive approach to tackle negative portrayal and messages.

Liz Ely, NUJ delegate, said:

“I have lost count of how many times I have heard groups of men on the radio discussing the gender pay gap, or the ‘me too’ movement. Whenever we have a platform we represent ourselves and affect how others see us. In the trade union movement and across the media we’re working to change how women and all oppressed groups are represented.”

Diljeet Bhachu, a musician and delegate of the Musicians’ Union, called attention to the issue of visibility. She said:

“Visibility has the power to raise aspiration, and encourage real inclusivity and equality. But to have some visibility is not enough. Tokenism is also damaging. Under-represented people are diverse, and representation needs to reflect this plurality too. People are more than their labels.”

The NUJ delegation also put forward a motion addressing the shameful strategy of media companies to increase the use of user generated content to the detriment of professional journalists. The approach to replace paid for, professional content affects the incomes of staff and freelance journalists.

A third NUJ motion calling on the STUC to explore different models of ownership considered the introduction of the cooperative model approach for some newspapers.

This comes on the heels of work by NUJ Scotland about cooperative ownership models for local newspapers that have been threatened with closure or severe editorial cuts.

Women are on the rise in the trade union movement in Scotland, newly elected STUC president Lynn Henderson said on the final day of the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

Henderson, who is Scottish secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, has called on men in the union movement to ‘Step Aside, Brother’. ‘Step Aside, Brother’ is an initiative seeking experienced male union reps to mentor women to take up union positions. Henderson paid tribute to her male counterparts in the movement who have done so, in order that more spaces and positions can be filled with female representatives.

She said:

“Every day employers are all ‘discovering’ embedded sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace. Our movement will be in the strongest possible position to continue to challenge this when women are leading.”

“We are serious about strengthening the power of workers. Our structures are adapting to reflect the society we wish for. Step Aside, Brother is about accelerating that change.”

Henderson’s remarks came as an upsurge of women-led campaigns has set the trade union agenda in the public and private sectors.

The theme of Glasgow may day will be the centenary of the extension of votes to some women, and the suffragette movement that secured this.


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NUJ Ian Bell award winners

Winners of the Ian Bell ‘New Writing’ award were presented with their prizes at a lively session on ‘The Importance of Good Journalism’ at the Aye Write Book Festival on Saturday.  The award was set up in memory of radical journalist Ian Bell, who died in 2015, by his family and the Edinburgh Branch of the National Union of Journalists of which he was a member.

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Scotland media diversity

NUJ Scotland is looking for people of colour in Scotland that are actively creating media content. You could be a blogger, vlogger, broad/podcaster or citizen journalist. If you are involved in media, we’d like to hear from you to discuss an exciting project.

Please email: dominicb@ or call 0141 248 6648


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#Useitpayforit- NUJ campaign for photographers

#Useitpayforit is the hashtag for an NUJ campaign to encourage amateurs to understand the value of the photographs and videos they provide to news organisations in a month of action in February 2018.

We need to raise the awareness of the issue with amateur photographers and videographers who, by giving their work away for nothing, are undermining professional photographers and the worth of good photographs and videos. If an image is good enough to be published or broadcast, it is good enough to be paid for. Continue reading

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Do you Know Your Rights?

The NUJ Scotland office is hosting a short taster course on Knowing Your Rights on 9 February 2018. knowinrights jpeg

‘Am I allowed time off to look after my sick child?’

‘What does variation of contract mean?’

‘What’s the difference between a worker and an employee?’

‘Can my boss make me work longer hours?’


Where do you go to find out the answers to these day to day questions about employment rights?

This short session will help you to understand some of the key employment rights that members have whether they are employed on a contract or are freelance and where to find the right information.

If you would like some more information or to book a place please contact dominicb@

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Writing to end violence against women

NUJ Scotland was proud to support Zero Tolerance’s Write to End Violence Against Women awards for the fifth year running. The awards were held on 7 December at the Scottish Parliament.

Zero Tolerance has also launched guidelines on reporting domestic abuse in advance of new legislation to tackle the problem of violence against women.

The new laws, once implemented, will mean that police will be able to act where there is a course of abusive behaviour, whether it is physical, mental or psychological, and it will include coercive control.

NUJ Scotland assisted with the guidelines and material from a post on our webpage by journalist Dani Garavelli – Time to end clumsy coverage of violence against women – was quoted in the guidelines.

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Writers in Digital Times reads well

The NUJ office in Scotland recently held an event to mark Book Week Scotland.

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November.

Sponsored by Digital Unions, Scottish Union Learning, and Scottish Book Trust, Writers in Digital Times brought together a number of authors to discuss their books and the writing and publishing process.

Attendees heard from Alex Gordon, Catherine Deveney, Deedee Cuddihy, Maggie Ritchie and Mark Fisher. Continue reading