When Miles Barter (top) quit as the NUJ's campaigns officer at the end of 2009 I ran a story which attracted a lot of comments and speculation about why he had left.
Miles recently read the exchanges again and has decided to release his letter of resignation, which he has posted on the original story. In it he claims the NUJ's democracy was being dismantled and that he passionately disagreed with cuts that were being made by the union's leadership.
It was emailed on 20 November 2009 to Stephen Pearse, who was then the NUJ's
communications manager, and states:
"Subject: My resignation
"I was stunned to hear the conference had voted to support a delegate meeting every 18 months rather than annually.
on to the ending of annual elections for the NEC and other councils
this seems to me to be a total dismantling of the union's democracy.
is such a fundamental attack on the things I believe in - orchestrated
by the union's leadership - than in all conscience I can't continue to
work for the NUJ.
"I couldn't look members of the union in the eye
while I am taking a salary and the NUJ is making cuts I disagree with so
"I believe this is symptomatic of an attitude of
contempt displayed by many in the union's leadership to the union's
democratic processes. They are often seen as a hindrance rather than a
"As you know I believe the solution to the union's financial crisis is to stimulate more democracy not less.
put effort into reviving the moribund branches so there is a core of
activists in every town who will fight for the union, represent people
in personal cases, and recruit new members.
"Without this activity -
and the democratic structures to stimulate it - the union is in danger
of becoming a bureaucracy with a hollow shell.
"That redbuilding of
the branches is not happening and I am clearly out of touch with the
policies my colleagues at Headland House wish to pursue.
"Therefore I have no option but to resign from the post of campaigns officer.
possible I would like to leave today as I can't stomach the
anti-member, anti-democracy gloating that I am bound to witness when
everyone returns next week. I'm not bothered about being paid my notice.
"Best wishes and thank you for giving me the opportunity to work in the campaigns and Communications department.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery