Thursday, November 29, 2007

Deal or no deal - the sequel

The Guardian deal has been done (subject to some caveats obviously - nothing is that simple)! A lively chapel meeting today backed the following motion overwhelmingly.
"This chapel accepts the 24/7 enabling deal as set out in the latest letter from the company, pending agreement by the Observer chapel. The chapel welcomes the work done by its negotiators to address concerns raised at chapel and section meetings and to pull the company back from the worst excesses of its original proposals.
The chapel notes that it has had to take several issues on trust and based on broad assurances from the company. In particular, the chapel has continuing concerns about the possible extent of early, late and weekend working, the degree of multi-platform working and the potential for changes to lead to excessive working hours and the exposure of staffing shortages, and remains unconvinced of the need for or desirability of a longer basic working week.
The chapel therefore gives notice that it will vigorously monitor the implementation of the agreement and integration process and will ensure that implementation is subject to negotiation at chapel and sectional level.

In the event that management at any point fails to address these concerns or abide by both the letter and spirit of the agreement, chapel officers are instructed to put the matter into dispute and call a mandatory meeting to consider a ballot for industrial action and/or a work to contract. The chapel also urges members to monitor their working hours over the coming months and pass on the results to committee representatives."

The NUJ has already put out a statement and a number of media have picked it up including Press Gazette and media guardian website

What few notice in the maelstrom of such disputes is just how much work our lay reps put in. Over the past six months (long before people like me swan in and claim a load of the credit) our chapel reps were working away arguing the union case. Then they spent the hours at ACAS, they did the desk and section meetings, they answerred members' questions and took every concern raised back to management. In this dispute they have been brilliant. It hasn't always been easy for any of us but they deserve huge praise and thanks from all across the union. They are always there to take the flak, they should also get the credit they deserve. It seems unfair to single any one of them out but our MoC Helene Mulholland deserves a good night's sleep and a glass or two of wine tonight for all the brilliant work she has put in.

After a quick drink at the Horseshoes pub, which has become like the unofficial headquarters of the Guardian negotiators, I came back to try to sort out a harder problem - the mess we've created over the establishment of an NUJ Pensioners' Association. I'm not sure how far we got in the meeting but at least we all understand a bit better what we're seeking to achieve and are all going away to think about things.

Before heading I briefly catch up on the situation at the BBC. Ballot papers are due to go out next week and plan some of the work we will be doing to get a big yes vote and big turnout.

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