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Cash-strapped union to sell HQ

The National Union of Journalists has confirmed plans to put its London headquarters up for sale in a move designed to reduce costs by £150,000 a year.

Members of the union’s ruling National Executive Committee have backed proposals to put its Headland House HQ on the market and move to new premises alongside two other trades unions.

The plan is expected to save around £100,000 a year in costs while also generating a further £50,000 in additional income by investing the proceeds of the sale.

Headland House, in newly-fashionable Kings Cross, would be expected to realise a capital gain in excess of £1m.

The union says it will need to find £450,000 just to meet its existing costs in the 2009/10 budget year and is also struggling to come to terms with a £2m-plus pensions shortfall.

It says redundancies across the media industry leading to a decline in union membership at a time of rising inflation is causing “upward pressures” on costs.

The NEC newsletter Informed states: “With the prospect of a future Conservative government, newspapers axing jobs and possioble cuts to the union learning fund and union modernisation fund, the NUJ wil face a very tough financial period unless costs can be kept under control.”

General Secretary Jeremy Dear added: “Unless we can control costs, our ability to remain a campaigning, fighting, independent union will be under threat.”

Jeremy denied that the plan to move in with the broadcasting union Bectu and the General Federation of Trades Unions would amount to a merger.

“This is not a merger and there will be no loss of NUJ identity,” he said.