|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