Monday, December 10, 2007


Howdy - as they say round these parts. I'm in Washington (that's US of A not County Durham) to represent the International Federation of Journalists at the grandly titled Global Unions' Council.

Tonight at the National Labor College I met up with the leaders of the journalists' unions from the US, Canada and Australia who are all also here as IFJ delegates as well as IFJ General Secretary Aidan White and we've been able to have a useful discussion about how best to work together in the face of increasingly global companies - such as Newsquest, Reuters and News International.

It was particularly interesting to hear about The Newspaper Guild's Save Journalism campaign which mirrors our own Stand Up for Journalism activity.

But back to the conference. Normally I avoid these kind of events like the plague but I hold out some more hope for this one coming up with some concrete activity.

All around the world trade unionism is facing severe challenges and we need to act to defend and promote the right to organise, develop the legal and political framework for union organising and address issues such as international organising - capital is global but trade unionism is still far too rooted within national boundaries. There are some fascinating experiments going on with global trade union organising (including the global framework agreements in journalism) and I'm hoping we can turn some of those in to practical activity which will help us build bigger, stronger, more effective unions for journalists and all other workers.

That's the hope - in 48 hours I'll know if any of that has been achieved or whether the 185 delegates representing the entire world trade union movement have simply allowed the opportunity to pass by in favour of another talking shop.

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