Friday, March 07, 2008

From Iran to Colombia and back in time for supper

Yesterday i was rent-a-mob. Went to Parliament to see Mary in our Parliamentary office and deliver letters to MPs about our upcoming Save ITV News campaign briefing later this month. On the way out I joined a short TUC lobby outside the Commons as part of a protest for trade union freedom in Iran and for the release of jailed trade unionists, in particular Mansour Onsanloo.

From there a few steps to the green opposite Parliament to speak at a lobby for victims of violence in Colombia, part of an international day of action. Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a journalist or trade unionist. If you're both it's a risky business - and the UK government keeps giving military aid to the regime there. Justice for Colombia organised the demonstration and MPs, lawyers, trade unionists and social justice campaigners sent a strong message to the UK and Colombian government. We were joined by a senior delegation of trade unionists from Colombia, including Carlos Rodriguez, leader of the CUT, the equivalent of the TUC.

I'd been with Carlos on Wednesday night at a reception at the TUC at which I made a short speech introducing him and his colleagues.

Also on Wednesday I joined other Federation of Entertainment Unions General Secretaries in a shortlisting meeting to select a new coordinator/lobbyist for the unions to help raise our collective profile on key media and cultural issues. I also had a telephone conference with BECTU officials about the state of play at the BBC as we prepare for a consultative ballot next week.

On Thursday it was Development Committee which considered the union's structure review, the latest membership statistics, motions coming up to the union's annual conference, training and our various campaigns. Also managed to squeeze in a further pensions meeting with staff union reps.

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