A sunny bank holiday Monday - who'd have thought it?
Not that I saw any of it as I was stuck in a cellar decorated like a bordello sat across the table from the Guardian/Observer management and an ACAS conciliator- for 11 hours!
It was a very successful 11 hours of negotiations though. The prospect of seeing some daylight clearly spurred us all on to resolve most of the outstanding issues on the new House Agreement part of the ongoing implications of last year's multimedia working agreement. Again it has been a painstaking process negotiating our way to bring together two existing agreements and ensure things are levelled up not down, with us having to be ever vigilant, but we're almost there. And at the end of it we will have one of the best agreements that exists in the industry - a testament to the commitment of the chapel and negotiators.
Last week seems like a nightmare. I'm sure I dreamt that Boris Johnson had become mayor of London.
So what else happened last week? I was at the TUC General Council on Wednesday with a major discussion about the next steps in the battle over temporary and agency workers' rights. On Wednesday evening I attended the Rock Against Racism gig at the Brixton Academy, part of the Hope Not Hate initiative which I'm proud to support.
On Thursday I met with John McDonnell and other unions to talk about how we can co-ordinate better our Parliamentary interventions to ensure trade union issues get a higher profile. Then I met with the union's bank to bring them up to date on our latest financial situation, met with the chair of our Magazine and Book Industrial Council Bill Mackeith and secretary of Oxford Branch Anna Wagstaffe before heading to the New Statesman offices to meet Shiv Malik and others to talk about the campaign around his legal case.
On Friday morning I spoke at the World Press Freedom Day event organised by UNESCO at the Frontline Club, debating the subject 'New Media is Killing Journalism'. Later on I met with officers from the union's Press and PR branch.
I am also preparing a couple of submissions - one to the Low Pay Commission to back up our call for a clampdown on the abuse of work experience in breach of the National Minimum Wage, the other with the help of some of our freelance photographers to the Joint Committee on Human Rights which is looking at the policing of protest - an issue which we have had a lot to say about recently - from my 'one-person demo' to the submission on managing protest around Parliament.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 02.05.08. A civilian police photographer films and photographs working journalists outside City Hall on Friday 2 May 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Vallée/marcvallee.co.uk) (c) Marc Vallée, 2008.
The issue has reared its ugly head again after evidence of NUJ photographers coming under increasing surveillance at the hands of the FIT (Forward Intelligence Team) teams. Don't these people have some real criminals to catch?
Read all about the issue here.
Or try these links for more info.
"Police 'spying' powers challenged"
"Police in court over pictures at arms protest"