Monday, June 09, 2008

Catching up after catching some sun

Whoops - forgot to post before I went away leaving you breathless on the edge of your seats as to what I was up to - or not.

I've spent the last few days taking a break in Istanbul, a fantastic city - beautiful, great food, some lively bars, brilliant music (which is more than can be said for our dancing to it!).

But back to work - spent Wednesday 28th in Dublin visiting members at RTE where they are engaged in a major battle over the future of their pension.

Thursday I spoke at the Media and Minorities Conference in Islington, taking part in a panel discussion about efforts to address the under-representation of people from ethnic minorities in too many newsrooms and sections of the media. That evening I went to the London hustings in the NUJ's Deputy General Secretary election. Have you voted yet? If not, why not?

Friday I took a step back in time to join reps at the South London Press in their pay negotiations with new owners Tindles. I used to handle the negotiations there when I was newspapers organiser.

Friday we also had a small staff farewell for John Fray, retiring Deputy General Secretary. I've paid many tributes over the past few weeks to John but it was good to get another opportunity to thank him for all his work on behalf of thousands of NUJ members over his 20-plus years at the NUJ.

Monday it was budget day - actually the start of the budgeting process - the point where I put all the budget claims in to the spreadsheet, have a small tantrum and begin shaping the budget to fit our industrial priorities and needs. Oh, and 'rationalising' claims. Ok, cutting them. I also met with Sarah Veale at the TUC and with Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists.

Monday ended with a meeting with BBC Director General Mark Thompson and the other Federation of Entertainment Unions members to discuss the current Ofcom review of Public Service Broadcasting. After meeting with Mark Thompson the unions met to discus our joint response - and how best to co-ordinate our opposition to top slicing the BBC licence fee whilst finding ways to ensure the survival of Channel 4 and ITV news and current affairs.

In between meetings letters also went to employers identified in our recent survey of work experience to seek their responses to allegations that they were failing to abide by the terms of the National Minimum Wage, I wrote an article for Red Pepper on the threat faced by trade unionists and journalists in Colombia, highlighted concerns over police surveillance of journalists which was picked up by a number of media and answered dozens of emails/letters which just never stop. If yours is one of the 297 still waiting to be answered - sorry. I'm getting there. That will teach me to go away...

1 comment:

Robert said...

I spent the week trying to borrow money to feed the family and pay the bills funny old world