He was the union’s youngest ever general secretary when he was elected in 2001 at the age of 34, winning re-election in 2006, but has now announced he will not stand again this year.
The move triggers the first leadership contest at the union in 10 years, with deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet thought to be one of the main contenders for the role – which would give the NUJ its first female leader.
Jeremy first rose to prominence after leading a dispute against de-recognition of the NUJ at the Essex Chronicle.
He said: “It was the proudest moment of my life being elected General Secretary and I have been honoured to have had the opportunity to serve our union at every level over many years.
“Throughout all my years as a lay activist or a full time official I have never failed to be inspired by the spirit of the NUJ members and their continued commitment to fight for social and economic justice.
“My deep thanks go to all those – staff, reps and members – who do so much to make the NUJ the fantastic union it is and whose friendship and solidarity I have been fortunate to share over the years.”
Before becoming general secretary, Jeremy served the union as national organiser for newspapers and as President.
As a full-time official, Jeremy was responsible for the union’s recognition campaigns – winning back union rights in national and local newspapers, magazines and book publishers – and he also managed NUJ training in its early years.
His election as NUJ general secretary saw the union adopt a more militant, active stance as members aimed to tackle low pay, job cuts and win back collective bargaining rights.
Jeremy was the first NUJ leader to be elected to the TUC General Council in 2002 as part of a wave of left wing leaders who took office in a number of unions.
Deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, said: “Jeremy’s passion and dedication to the union he loves, his unrivalled commitment to trade unionism and his sheer energy have made him a general secretary the NUJ can be truly proud of.
“Jeremy is leaving the union in fighting shape ready and able to carry forward his work and legacy as the voice for journalists and journalism throughout the UK and Ireland.
“As his deputy over the last three years, and as an activist before that, I’ve been privileged to work with an outstanding general secretary who will be much missed.”
NUJ President Pete Murray added: “Jeremy Dear has been a uniquely inspiring general secretary of the union, constantly, energetically and faithfully representing journalists at work across the UK and Ireland.
“The whole union owes him enormous thanks for a decade of commitment and success.”