Editorial Pitch-Herald Scotland-13 November 2013
By Sam Khan – McIntyre
Media outlets and other organisations believe they can con people by using their work without paying for it, often using lack of funds as an excuse.
However, upon further investigation it turns out that organisations often have a substantial amount of money saved by exploiting staff, and if often locked away in assets.
These organisations are named and shamed, with their I’ll gotten gains listed for all the world to see. This injustice should not continue while the talented, educated and hard working staff, often young and getting onto the career ladder, get exploited, sometimes in jobs for many years with little renumeration, whole those who think they can getaway with organising such scams and racketeering, think they can get away with getting fat off their corrupt practices.
Propaganda on the joys of working for free is not to be trusted, as those that work for free are not much better off in the employment marketplace than those that have not for (the same positions). Demographics of those being exploited thorough this sort of thinly veiled type of slave – master relationship, for instance through work experience, voluntary work, for example internships may be different in terms of ethnicity, class, age, or various other factors. (see New Economist article/ New Yorker? Where did I se the?).
It is not just organisations, such as media outlets, grassroots organisations and even charities that purport to have no money, doing good for society while actually watching the bottom line for their own purposes.
It is also commercial companies that blatantly make huge rod it’s, as if we’re supposed to bow to this new god of the economy, or economic giant and help it succeed while we we get nothing in return. For example I was asked by a Silicon Valley company last year to write for them, when I asked what they paid they said they were looking for volunteers! (One does not need to check whether they are making any money!)
The government seems to be encouraging this sort of exploitation, no doubt ministers and their cronies getting their own cut of the bounty.for example the case of Cat Reilly last year highlighted the issue, (no doubt the government would want to cover up loopholes to prevent exploited workers from winning cases against giant corporations, in this case it was Poundland stores, but the Tesco supermarkets were controversial in “hiring” free labour to pack bags or stack shelves or some such.
In such cases, it is better not to work than get sucked in, humiliated and bossed about and even bullied for no renumeration. The case for opening new supermarkets for instance in our home town in Scotland, and other much applauded job creation schemes only means that more and more people are subjected to manual labour, increasingly which they are too educated for and got themselves (expensively) educated so they wouldn’t get stuck with such kind of dead end job or working for free.
If the government has a problem with freeloaders then they should be renumerated for the work they do, and create jobs where they are most important, vital, and most of all wanted by the public. Consumer jobs in supermarkets only add to the consumer culture, and more and more convenient supermarkets and other shops only mean dead end jobs and more dissatisfied people who are being taught to spend on things they don’t want or are not necessary or not good for them giving rise to obesity and other health problems, and financial problems such as debt which can contribute to health problems. For these, treatment may not be easily available, or increasingly expensive for an individual or a begrudging government who may withhold (for certain people/ catchment areas, illnesses, as saying they are the fault of the patient for example, e.g. obesity, smoking etc). to cut costs. This can lead to economic problems such as the recession, which can then be an excuse for further injustices in the form of loss of jobs or austerity measures.
In terms of working for free or forced to do jobs that people are not interested in, then it might be better for those people to be doing nothing whatsoever. There are those who claim there are plenty of jobs despite high unemployment. Well would thee ogle who quote vocally claim such things in the media be willing to take on some of those roles which they would either hate doing, (such as manual labour) or are not trained for. In any case, Mark Carney and as the govt. and Bank of England are not aiming for zero unemployment, believing 6 per cent or so will be suitable as employment would be concentrated in certain areas.
This useless argument assumes London does not exist, and is in fact making a case for creating a class of unemployed to punish and use as a tool for the rest of the public in order to keep in line and toil away for free in the supermarkets so the rich, (and those who deserve it least for they are not necessarily the most talented, intelligent or able) who need it the least, can make a killing in financial terms. That is quite barbaric.
Commissioned Scotsman, Edinburgh-
by Sam Khan – McIntyre
The controversial Justice and Security Bill, which will legitimise closed court cases, looks set to go ahead at the end of March, amid pressure from Government security agencies. This is despite widespread opposition and lack of evidence of a need for the new law.
The bill was passed in the Commons on 8 February by a majority of MPS (11) who rejected a third reading. There is still further final reading taking place in the House of Lords on 12 March therefore there is still time to put pressure on them to make changes, says Farthing, and adds that it looks likely the bill will become law at the end of March.
The House of Lords, Labour and the Liberal Democrats tabled amendments to the relevant clause 6 of the bill, which were however overturned by the government.
These amendments had aimed to introduce increased judicial digression over the proposed closed courts, as well as a balancing exercise for the judge in his consideration of evidence.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has also been critical of the proposed measures, said Sophie Farthing, policy officer for Liberty, a human rights organisation. The organisation has been lobbying against the bill since it was proposed in the green paper in October 2011. Farthing explained that amongst many people and organisations raising objections, The Daily Mail, printed petition signed by 700 lawyers. As a result Liberty joined forces with the newspaper. The public have also voiced opposition, for example through the campaign group 38 Degrees, when 29,000 out of a million members objected to the bill.
The bill is controversial as the proposals intend to bring close courts into civil law which will ensure that a claimant’s lawyer, as well as the claimant, will be denied access to documents which are deemed to be a security risk, and so cannot contest them.
Only a government appointed special advocate will be able to see the documents, who will be unable to even discuss them with the claimant and his lawyer. Therefore he will have to argue a one-sided case without full access to the facts, according to Kevin Laue of Redress. This is a human rights organisation helping torture survivors.
The controversial reforms are being pushed by government agencies such as M15 and M16 to which the government are listening, explained Farthing, despite the government having provided no evidence of such a national security requirement. Current laws which allow security services to keep certain documents secret are adequate, according to Laue.
The bill’s origins lie in 9/11 cases where the government was pulled up for wrongdoings, explains Farthing, as in the case of Binyam Mohammed, a British resident, who was tortured with the government’s knowledge. This bill is a way for the government and agencies to cover up such allegations up by making decisions behind closed doors where the claimant is unable to defend himself, as he is denied access to relevant evidence.
This situation involving torture explained Farthing is just one aspect of what the government may in future want to cover up, and the closed procedures could be applied to other issues such as complaints against police or negligence. The real reason for government secretiveness is not national security concerns, but that it does not want to face embarrassment if evidence of its wrongdoing leaks out to the public, as happened with the Binyam case, said Laue. The proposals will mean that ‘holding someone to account, when you cannot challenge, or even hear the evidence they are using against you, will be near impossible’ says Donald Campbell of Reprieve, which upholds human rights of prisoners. He quotes Former Lord Chief Justice Lord Bingham who said that it will be like ‘taking blind shots at a hidden target’.
With regards to Scotland, said Farthing that ‘National security is an area of law reserved to Westminster and therefore the Bill will apply to Scotland in national security sensitive cases, however the opposition expressed by the Scottish Government was nevertheless very significant’. Labour MP for Edinburgh, Mark Lazarowicz described the amendments which Labour, supported by the SNP and Plaid Cymru sought to reintroduce on the 4th of March. These being ‘a number of extra safeguards which had originally been put in by the House of Lords’. These said that only if necessary, a judge should make the decision when evidence could be given in a closed court, rather than the government or the prosecution. He added that ‘Unfortunately, our attempt to do so was outvoted’.
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: ‘while closed material procedures are not ideal, in very exceptional circumstances where national security is at stake, they are the only way of delivering justice. ‘This bill deals with issues of the utmost importance and equips our court system to handle sensitive intelligence material’. Laue does not agree with the Conservatives’ claim :-‘The government’s stated aim of the proposals, as being national security is a ‘red herring’, Laue continues, that ‘it will aid covering up embarrassment where the UK has broken its own laws, and international law [because] ‘Torture and complicity in torture is prohibited everywhere and at all times’.
Campbell of Reprieve, an organisation fighting lawfully on behalf of prisoner injustice worldwide, concurs – saying that the ‘intention’ of the proposals are that ‘secret courts would make it far harder to hold the government to account in cases of rendition and torture’. This is ‘due to the lack of any other evidence that they are needed’, which the government has failed to provide. The situation where the government found the need for such a proposal arose due to the case of Binyam Mohammed said Campbell, ‘as a response to the embarrassment which the government and its intelligence agencies suffered when it emerged through the courts that they had been involved in [his] torture and rendition’. The issue being that the British public discovered the government’s wrongdoings.
The result of this wrongdoing could have severe consequences for the claimant. Liberty’s Report stage briefing on Part 2 of the Justice & Security Bill in the House of Commons march 2013 said that the UK intelligence shown to American courts helped Mr Mohammed’s defence in the US. He was able to challenge the criminal proceedings against him through evidence that the information had been obtained through torture, without this evidence may have lead him to a conviction and the death penalty. With regards to the more far reaching effects of the proposals, Laue comments that ‘It is [part of] the mission-creep attack on civil liberties we have seen in the last decade. The UK’s courts have tried to protect human rights, but the government is much more concerned with avoiding accountability and hiding behind ‘national security’and that ‘it is frightening the lengths the government is going to’.
He also describes the bill as an extremely serious attack on the most fundamental freedoms this country has developed over centuries’. He said that the ‘an open civil procedure system […] is part of the rule of law and democracy’ because it is ‘not only for all parties but for the public to know what a case is all about and why judges make decisions the way they do’. Campbell adds that the effects would be that ‘the primary impact of this bill would be on the ability of the public to hold government in check through the courts’ because they would be denied the truth.
Farthing continues, worried because ‘public rights are concerned’ or compromised, as the proposals were made in the public’s name and false interests. Other consequences said Campbell maybe that it would do serious damage to centuries-old legal freedoms. Laue also that: ‘it exposes the UK to justified accusations of hypocrisy’ and furthermore that ‘it also helps less democratic states justify their own abuses and lack of transparency, because the UK should set the highest standards.
In relation to what the public can do, Campbell said: ‘Demand of their MPs to stop the bill; protest in all possible lawful ways; campaign; expose and explain what is at stake’. Farthing suggested that it is important to make views known to MPs in light of the next election, and that public engagement is important for democracy
Minutes of NUJ Paris Branch Meeting
NUJ Delegate meeting – Eastbourne
Thank you for the very satisfactory attendance and support provided at the Paris branch AGM last month. I appreciate the confidence you have placed in me for another year in office as chairman of the Paris branch. As I said during the meeting on March 25, it has been a collective effort and all the members of the branch committee deserve a round of applause for the contributions they made over the past year. We also congratulate those who have just joined the committee for their commitment to the NUJ.
At the April meeting you will hear a report from myself and Karen Kissane about our attendance at the NUJ Delegate Meeting which took place at Eastbourne on 11-13 April.
I also propose to circulate details of a proposal to make a joint submission, along with our French union partners and the European federation of Journalists, for European funding for a project involving a conference on “The rise of extremist political groups in Europe: the role of journalists in documenting this phenomenon.” I will circulate the written bid document to all members in due course.
You will note on the draft agenda we plan to undertake a thorough job of weeding through of contact lists, which include paid-up members, people who may have lapsed, and ex-members. It has been suggested that we pay somebody from branch funds a modest hourly rate to perform this task. It would involve contacting people whose status might be uncertain, to encourage them to stay in the union, or to be dropped from the register.
I welcome any comments on these or other points relating to NUJ Paris branch.
Best wishes to all,
James Overton, chair of Paris branch
mob. 0677 371785
Thiery Cerinato and Patrick Kamenka at NUJ meeting
Text Minutes of the NUJ Paris Branch meeting March 25, 2013
Present: 22 members: Jeff Apter, Chloe Baker, Michael Balter, Pat Brett, Alison Culliford, Nigel Dickenson, Natasha Edwards, Heidi Ellison, Zoe Harris, Nat Harrison, Sam Khan-McIntyre, Karen Kissane, Susan Luraschi, Gavin McIntyre, Lillian Malki, Chris Myant, Julian Nundy, James Overton (chair), Annabel Simms, Diana Smith, Pierre Tran, Mike Woods (minutes)
Apologies: 4 members: Sam Davies, Jennifer Laidlaw, Andrew Spurrier, Hugh Wheelan
Chair opens meeting at 6:47 pm
Minutes of February meeting
The following minutes were read and accepted:
“The meeting opened without quorum.
“January minutes were read and accepted with no matters arising.
“Nat Harrison and Jeff Apter reported on recent meetings at RFI to resurrect activism in the chapel there, forming partnerships with the Anglo American Press Association on seminars, supporting staff at AITV, and on general efforts to ensure the five French chapels remain active. A meeting with the BBC chapel was to happen in early March.
“Julian Elliot was voted to membership. Angus Sibley said he would draft a letter to HO asking them to be sure they forwarded all relevant information pertaining to membership applications.
“Attendees to April’s Delegate Meeting were encouraged to return their forms and to try and attend the full five days.
“It was stressed special efforts be made to ensure quorum for the branch’s annual general assembly.
“And a motion was adopted expressing support for colleagues at Reuters France who are locked into a dispute with management over funding and staffing levels.”
Matters arising: James notes he has reviewed Angus’s draft letter and would send it to HO.
Nat Harrison reports a branch initiative led staff at RFI to hold a productive workplace discussion ahead of a larger company meeting to discuss reforms to the English service. There was less success however with the Anglo American Press Association as there was not enough support on efforts to work together on a seminar on taxation. A meeting with the BBC chapel was still pending.
Natasha Edwards reports being in discussion of questions over freelance contracts with Barbara Casassus, namely questions over liability and the little protection offered by NUJ legal support.
AITV (Lillian): an audit within France Televisions (FT) said AITV was a good and valuable service but that FT needs to cut costs; unions are making various suggestions about what to do; there is some talk of handing Africa TV coverage to AFP TV. In short, FT doesn’t know what to do with AITV and its timetable is out of sync; there is the feeling that FT wants AITV staff to accept its redundancy plan and leave as quietly as possible, but staff do not regard the terms as attractive; it’s hard to know if an official pledge to redeploy staff within the company is credible. Unions have signed a letter saying they are against the plan; management can push the plan itself, but that would lead to a legal case. The NUJ and partner unions can remain in solidarity; SNJ was to launch a strike action and hoped others could join.
RFI (Mike): the main points coming out of the meeting with management were that broadcast hours would be shuffled, that the radio would air France24 TV, and that staff would be required to work differently. The last point was not yet clear and was of concern to staff, as the management indicated it would mean producing content for radio and web and doing more translation and adaptation and less original reporting.
Chloe Baker was elected to full membership, proposed by Pierre, seconded by Heidi and approved unanimously with one abstention (from a member who entered halfway through the deliberation).
Zoe reports the February CEC meeting discussed PM81, DM14 motions, EFJ’s independence from IFJ and the safety of journalists in Ukraine. She noted that online subs payments in euro would be tested first in Ireland before rolling out to Continental Europe.
Zoe reports the branch account held 4174 euros in Janurary, and that after about 15 euros in expenditures the current balance was 4159,84 euros.
There was 1€52 in the Livret A savings account (including 2 centimes of interest). Zoe proposed to transfer 2000 euros into it.
Zoe was looking for ways to speed up payment processes and getting around the need of two signatures.
James and Karen have sent delegate forms and were waiting to hear about accommodations from HO. Branch members were invited to run through the final agenda in the membership section of the website and communicate any observations to James and Karen. A message would go out as soon as possible on the Grapevine.
Alison Culliford spoke of efforts to launch World Radio Paris, an English-language radio station. It has support of the Paris region, which allocated funds to use a radio tower in Montmartre, and also raised funds with crowdfunding campaign. It will be eligible for grants once broadcasting starts. It would be a community radio, and it was not yet defined whether it was to be more informative or entertaining. It would offer training for Audacity software and microphones. There would be no advertising, but would have sponsored shows. As a non-profit venture working with volunteers, there was little union aspect, but it could be of interest to members looking for radio experience.
Alison also noted that after three years, she was stepping down as CEC rep on the Ethics Council due to not being able to attend regular meetings. The spot was open to any member in Continental Europe. The branch would inform members about the position.
Diana Smith was stepping down as Membership Lists coordinator and noted the new person would need instructions on how to clear returns, noting HO lists is different than branch list for example.
Chair closes meeting at 8:06 pm.
SUMMARY FOR NEWSLETTER
Summary of the NUJ Paris Branch meeting of March 25, 2013
FOLLOWING THE NUJ PARIS BRANCH MARCH REGULAR MEETING
Tues 25 March 2014
Present: 20 members: Jeff Apter, Chloe Baker, Michael Balter, Pat Brett, Nigel Dickenson, Natasha Edwards, Heidi Ellison, Zoe Harris, Nat Harrison, Sam Khan-McIntyre, Karen Kissane, Susan Luraschi, Gavin McIntyre, Lillian Malki, Chris Myant, James Overton (chair), Annabel Simms, Diana Smith, Pierre Tran, Mike Woods (minutes)
Apologies: 6 members: Alison Culliford, Sam Davies, Jennifer Laidlaw, Julian Nundy, Andrew Spurrier, Hugh Wheelan
Chair opens meeting at 8:18 pm
1/ Adoption of standing orders
2/ Adoption of agenda, apologies for absence
3/ Minutes of 2013 AGM, matters arising
read and accepted
4/ Secretary’s annual report
Mike reported the branch held regular meetings as per guidelines; that there was quorum in all but one meeting and that meetings drew an average of 10 members, that guests included members of the French Press Card committee (who came on two occasions) and union VP Adam Christie, that the branch maintained its traditions of Summer and Christmas dinners and started something new with the speaker seminar in October, which had better than expected turnout and overall positive feedback from attendees.
5/ Treasurer’s annual report
Zoe was still receiving subs inquiries, but much fewer than before; she would transfer money to Livret A; and that most of the year’s work was around the speaker seminar.
6/ Freelance annual report
Natasha updated the freelancer fact pack and been trying to make contact with London for reports and to better keep informed.
7/ Other reports
Nat reported workplaces had all been contacted, visited and encouraged to keep active and that there were some positive and tangible results, especially at RFI.
8/ Chair’s annual report
James noted he has made efforts to build links with French unions since NUJ does not have many negotiating rights in French workplaces and hoped the branch agrees partnerships have gone well; that he has made effort to get everyone to weigh in on the speaker seminar, inspired to carry on with future seminars; and that he tried to be active in terms of drafting DM motions. He thanked committee members for their work.
9/ Election of executive officers and branch committee
The following positions were elected (member, nominator, seconder, voting results):
Vice Chair – Chris Myant (Annabel, Jeff, voted unanimously)
Chair – James Overton (Jeff, Mike, voted unanimously)
Membership Secretary – Angus Sibley (James, Nat, voted unanimously)
Freelance Officer – Natasha Edwards (Jeff, Susan, voted unanimously)
Welfare and Equality officer – Susan Luraschi (James, Pat, voted unanimously)
Recruitment and Retention – Nat Harrison (Jeff, Heidi, voted unanimously) (Nat noted he would be leaving Paris on September 1 but would do the job until then)
Secretary – Mike Woods (Jeff, Zoe, voted unanimously)
Treasurer – Zoe Harris (James, Mike, voted unanimously)
Membership List coordinator – Susan Luraschi (Diana, Chris, voted unanimously)
Grapevine Coordinator – Jennifer Laidlaw (Mike, Pierre, voted unanimously)
Newsletter Editor – There were no nominees. Jeff Apter noted he would be willing to help anyone willing to do it and offered to do April issue if chair pledged to find someone for May. Sam Khan-McIntyre offered to take up the task if she relocates to Paris.
French Labour Law – no election; not required. Jeff, Nat and Pierre would be available for consultation.
Books – no election; not required
Auditor – George Kandalaft and Steven Dibiasio
Roaming Officer (if required) – no election; not required
10/ Any other business
Chair closes meeting at 8:51 pm.
By a narrow majority, the NUJ Delegate Meeting in Eastbourne earlier this month decided to scrap elections for the position of Deputy General Secretary. The conference was able to do this because the previous holder of this post, Barry Fitzpatrick, quit his job at the end of last year.
The measure will result in significant cost savings for the union.
The union leadership produced a detailed and convincing review of the position which suggested an appointed DGS would be more efficient.
The report revealed that conflicts had arisen in past years between the General secretary and the Deputy, whose role has been ill-defined in the union statutes. It was stressed that today, it is absolutely essential for the DGS to be active as an organiser in one of the union’s industrial sectors. In other words, the union can not afford the luxury of having two top managers. Fitzpatrick himself fulfilled this requirement, being the chief organiser for national newspapers.
The conference was told that in the past, union members sometimes elected a candidate with no organizing experience – a serious disadvantage.
The change puts the NUJ in line with practice with other UK trade unions, the majority of which have appointed deputy General Secretaries.
NUJ Paris delegate Karen Kissane spoke in this debate, backing General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet’s advocacy of the reform.
Opponents of the measure argued vociferously that the change risked being anti-democratic. With just the GS and the editor of the union’s magazine “The Journalist” elected, there will be only two officers chosen by the membership.
Meanwhile NUJ Paris delegation withdrew its motion proposing that the editor of the “Journalist” should no longer be an elected position. We took the view that our resolution had been overtaken by events.
The incumbent “Journalist” editor faces re-election later this year. Conference voted to tighten up the job description for the holder of this position.
Little time was left for debate on motions in the “International” section of the conference agenda, which was scheduled for the final Sunday morning session.
A motion put forward by Paris, supporting NUJ members at France Television’s AITV newsroom, was not debated and was remitted to the National Executive Council to attend to.
The new co-presidents of the NUJ are Adam Christie and Andy Smith who are operating a job-share method of doing the job. Smith comes from the book sector of the union while Christie, well known to Paris branch, is a freelance writer and editor based in Leeds.
The president chairs the union’s ruling National Executive Committee.
So, the Pitch & Deal training course is now going ahead in Brussels, and
will be at the IFJ offices on Saturday 26th April 2014.
NB. Note that because this is a role-playing course, numbers are
extremely limited. There is a meximum of 16 people, and we have five
takers in Brussels branch already. So if you know anyone who is
interested then they are advised to book (and pay) immediately.
If we are actually swamped with demand and have to start a wait-list,
then there is the possibility of having a second day on the Sunday for
another 16 people. But this is not guaranteed and will depend on
numbers, as course tutor fees have to be paid accordingly.
For the first day the original intention was to reserve 10 places for
members and 6 for non-members. But with 5 booked already it may be a
case of first come first served (members first of course).
Also please note that, if we have enough people booking from Paris and
Amsterdam, we may be able to adjust the start time slightly to account
Look forward to seeing you on the 26th April