If you’re a freelance journalist, you might feel that a union is irrelevant. After all, you you don’t have a boss, so you determine your own hours, you’re in control of your own working conditions and you’re unlikely to be involved in disputes with yourself.

Freelancers are not affected by the same issues as permanent staff, but they can still benefit from membership of the NUJ. If you have a late-payer, for example, the union can provide advice and if necessary, legal support. Freelance members also get access to up-to-date information about fees, contracts and copyright issues.

As the words of these three Cardiff-branch members illustrate, every freelance joins the NUJ for subtly different reasons.

Jenny Sims
“I joined the NUJ as a trainee reporter on the Chelsea News, mainly for its social networking, I have to admit. After a varied career in newspapers, medical journals and as a freelance, today I enjoy different aspects of union membership, including advice on running my own business and new skills’ training.

As a ‘new’ member of the Cardiff and South-East Wales branch, I look forward to networking with my fellow union members and getting involved in branch activities.”

Gary James Merrill
“Before I joined the NUJ in 1999, I thought freelancing was a solo mission. I enjoyed being my own marketing, finance, HR and quality control manager but I craved interaction with like-minded people.

“So I went to branch meetings, enjoyed the discussions and made many new friends in the process. My social life was enhanced but I’ve also found several new work opportunities through fellow members. In my mind, the monthly subscription is worth every penny.”

Clare Sturges
“What does NUJ membership mean to me? It means access to great value, high-quality training, being part of a network of people who are committed to news and media, and benefiting from the sense of support it brings.

As a freelance, knowing that the NUJ will help me in a dispute is very comforting. I’ve been a member for many years and have met many inspiring people through branch events.”