I had been a photographer on contract at a national newspaper for over 15 years when my contract was terminated with one month’s notice. The BAJ was superb with advice and support about my rights and position from the start. After advice from their employment barrister, we formed a case for unfair dismissal and loss of earnings and took it to the employment tribunal court. With Annette from the BAJ guiding me through the process as well as continual advice from the barrister, I was able to prepare all the evidence needed to back up my claim. We presented our case, and with some negotiation, Annette was able to agree on a settlement without going to the tribunal court.
I would highly recommend membership of the BAJ as a professional and efficient organisation. They will go into battle on your behalf against the multi-million-pound organisations who are only interested in the cheapest way of reducing their headcount.
Recently, my name, image and one of my books were used, without my permission, as a ‘premium’ to promote the sales of a product with which I had had no previous dealings. I contacted the company myself, and they said they would stop. Naively, I believed them. However, the adverts and mailings continued, and several angry customers approached me as a result. Next, my agent sent several letters and was given the run-around. In desperation, I turned to the British Association of Journalists for help. I was put in touch with their wonderful solicitor, Annette Raitz, who sent a robust letter on my behalf, to the company involved. She explained why their actions were unlawful, why I was due significant compensation and the basis on which this would be calculated. The company mounted a legal defence, which was quickly dismantled by the BAJ. Within a few weeks, I had received an undertaking that my name would not be abused again, along with an acceptable payment as compensation for the damage already done. I cannot thank the BAJ enough. As a freelance writer, working in isolation, it’s good to know that a strong team is on hand to offer advice, support and legal clout on your behalf when it’s needed.
I contacted BAJ after a seeing one of my pictures of a car stuck in flood water of which a family had been rescued from, taken by a UAV (drone), was stolen and used on a county council Twitter feed with no agreement/licence in place. I did try to negotiate with them; they totally undervalued my training and expense that went into becoming a UAV pilot to fly in UK airspace, to get this very unusual picture. It was a challenging flight due to the car being under some trees and some distance from dry land. The county council concerned tried many tactics to avoid paying the fee. The BAJ got me the result I wanted, a £500.00 fee for the unauthorised picture used on the council’s Twitter feed. The council didn’t give up easily, though, it took some BAJ legal persuasion to get it paid.
I cannot rate the BAJ highly enough for all the help and assistance they gave to me when I was made redundant from a national magazine after eight years. Having been told flat out by my employers that my redundancy payout was non-negotiable, their fantastic solicitor later accompanied me to my consultation meetings and backed my argument for a better deal.
I firmly believe that it was down to BAJ support that they agreed to pay me what I wanted – and what I felt I deserved. I have now gone freelance and there is no doubt that I will continue with my BAJ membership throughout the next step in my journalism career.
Matthew and the BAJ leapt to my rescue when I faced disability discrimination from my employer. Annette, the union solicitor, was kind, supportive and thorough the whole way through and we finally settled out of court at mediation. None of this would have been possible without the BAJ and I will be forever thankful.
I would like to put on record the wonderful assistance the BAJ gave me during a difficult period while working exclusively for a national title as a freelance for over a period of 14 years.
I received a monthly remittance, holiday and sick pay and also submitted my expenses on an official form. Yet when I volunteered for redundancy in the wake of the Reach take-over, I was told I wasn’t entitled, and I was considered a ‘linage’ contributor.
Enter the BAJ. They fought my corner over a long and often frustrating period and eventually I was considered ‘staff’ and justice was done.
A redundancy package was offered and accepted.
The BAJ proved marvellous wingmen, never flinching in their pursuit of my rights, and no doubt, of others caught in a similar situation.
A union to be proud of.