The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) could be forced to merge or face going bust, it has been reported.
The union, which has an annual income of £4.71m told Press Gazette that it needed to raise subscriptions from members if it was to survive long term as a separate entity.
However, the news industry website reported reactions from some members who felt the appeal for a subscription hike of 28% was poorly timed during the current Covid-19 epidemic.
A motion to increase subscription rates for the union’s 23,000 paying members was due to be heard at its delegate meeting this month, which has been postponed due to the emergency lockdown.
Professor Chris Frost, chairman of the NUJ’s finance committee, told Press Gazette he recognised it is “not a good time politically” for a subscription hike due to the impact of coronavirus on the industry.
But he added: “I honestly don’t see we’ll have any choice about pulling back from that when we eventually do have the delegate meeting.
“Frankly if we don’t get the increase we will go bust within a year or two, and that can’t happen. We would probably have to actually talk to some other unions and try and merge.”
The motion, put forward by the NUJ’s National Executive Council, says: “There is a vital need for subs to rise to reflect the increase in the cost of living and the challenges facing the union in order for the NUJ to sustain itself as an independent, vibrant campaigning trade union.”
One NUJ member is quoted by Press Gazette as saying: “I appreciate that dues have to go up at times to pay for increased costs and pay so staff aren’t hit by the increased cost of living, but the middle of a pandemic seems like a strange time to up subscription fees.”
The full item can be read here.