Firefighters blaze a trail of glory at the 2009 Trade Union Communications Awards

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date: 2 July 2009

embargo: For immediate release

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) monthly magazine Firefighter beat off stiff competition to win the coveted best journal or magazine award at the TUC's annual Union Communications Awards last night (Wednesday).

Judges praised Firefighter for its passion and dynamism. The populist appeal of USDAW's Arena magazine and the professional writing of Nautilus' Telegraph newspaper also caught the judges' eye.

The order of victory was reversed in the best campaign category, with USDAW stealing a march on the FBU to win the award for its Check Out Learning campaign. NASUWT's Is Your School Breaking the Law? campaign was also commended.

PCS came home with a brace of awards. The civil service union scooped the best feature award with an article arguing the case for better public sector pay and then followed up with the best website award, ahead of Nautilus and the FDA.

BECTU won the best use of a photo or illustration award for its powerful real-life picture of police harassment of media workers, as featured on the front cover of its Stage, Screen and Radio magazine.

The FBU were denied a brace of their own when they were pipped at the post by CWU in the best use of electronic media category.

The judges for the 2009 Awards were Ian McCartney MP, Director of End Child Poverty Hilary Fisher, Sunday Mirror Consumer Correspondent Stephen Hayward, political reporter Len Mulholland and Ellie Campbell-Barr, editor of NUT journal The Teacher, which won the best journal award in 2008.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Once again, we've seen some strong performances from across the union movement.

'When times are tough, members look to their union for support. It is absolutely vital that unions communicate what they are doing for their members. On the evidence of this year's award winners, they are doing a fine job.'

2009 Union communications awards judge Ian McCartney MP said: 'The vast majority of union magazines set out to enthuse, inform, educate, entertain, agitate and organise. From my perspective, they have succeeded in spades.'

The full 2009 TUC Press and PR award winners are:

  • best journal or magazine - FBU's Firefighter (winner), USDAW's Arena (highly commended), Nautilus' Telegraph (commended);
  • best feature - PCS (winner), Nautilus (highly commended), BECTU (commended);
  • best use of a photo or illustration - BECTU (winner), TSSA (highly commended), NUJ (commended);
  • best one-off publication - UCU (winner), USDAW (highly commended), FBU (commended);
  • best campaign - USDAW's Check Out Learning (winner), FBU's Safer Firefighters, Safer Communities (highly commended), NASUWT's Is Your School Breaking The Law? (commended);
  • best website - PCS (winner), FDA (highly commended), CWU (commended); and,
  • best use of electronic communication - CWU (winner), FBU (highly commended)


- All 57 unions affiliated to the TUC are eligible to submit entries to the annual TUC Press and PR awards.

- All TUC press releases can be found at

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit

- Congress 2009 will be held at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool from Monday 14 September to Thursday 17 September. All applications for media passes must be received no later than noon Monday 7 September. Any applications received after this date will be processed in Liverpool and subject to a £50 administration fee. The form for media credentials, plus information on how to book wireless internet access and a phone line at the BT Convention Centre can be accessed at


Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]

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