Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A bit too eager..

I was a little too eager to string up those who breach the National Minimum Wage laws in Monday's post - it was in fact just the Second Reading of the Employment Bill - it's not yet law. It will be and they will get punished - just not yet.

Yesterday I went with our Campaigns and Communications Officer Stephen Pearse to the Express to meet with NUJ President Michelle Stanistreet to plan the next stages of our Stand Up for Journalism campaign and to draw up plans to provide more support to our reps in the workplaces and branches.

Later in the day I was at the TUC's Organisation and Representation Task Group which is at the heart of the TUC's campaigning for improved employment rights and for promoting union recruitment and organisation. We had a fascinating discussion reviewing the successes and failures of the past five years in terms of building union membership and how different unions had gone about it. There are lessons to be learned - from the union which found it was spending more on providing death grants than it was on recruitment to those who have built whole new departments just dedicated to recruiting new members and everything in between. What is clear is that unless yopu inspire and motivate workplace reps to be at the forefront of recruiting in their everyday activity you can never reach all the potential members. The discussion tied in well with the plans we'd been drawing up earlier in the day.

The committee also considered the implications of the European Court of Justice decisions in the Viking and Laval cases. They are mixed but potentially very dangerous. Effectively they recognise the right to collective action but then temper that with giving domestic courts powers to decide whether strike action is the appropriate response in certain circumstances.

On other issues I was able to push the case for employment status issues affecting media workers to be included on the agenda for the next talks with government.

Last night I spent the evening putting together a paper for the union's Finance Committee on Friday setting out radical steps to tackle the worsening financial situation the union is facing as a result of both increased costs and widespread redundancies in some of our core membership areas.

Today it's the start of BBC negotiations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Martin Kettle. Guardian website. 9 January 2008.
An American colleague complained the other day that the demands of his paper and his website and his blog meant that he had hardly done any reporting at all this year. We all know that feeling. Modern journalism demands authority from journalists while denying them the time to be authoritative.