Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quieten down..

It's meant to be the slightly quieter summer months but things show no sign of slowing down - on the contrary i managed to clock up 62 hours last week - but hey, who's counting!

So here's a quick summary of key meetings last week.

Monday evening I went to Birmingham for a debate on the media coverage of Iraq, Afghanistan and the build up to a future conflict in Iran. I find whenever I do these meetings that they start off assuming all journalists are pro-war and unthinking and then coming to understand better the pressures, censorship, economic forces and other factors which shape global journalism. I always try to balance the negative comments about the way our industry covers international conflicts with positive comments about the bravery, dedication and ethics of individual journalists.

Tuesday I took part in the ongoing pay grading review talks at the South London Press where slow progress is being made and on Wednesday I attended the TUC General Council and afterwards chaired the TUC's Working on the Edge seminar - looking at how to improve rights for freelance and casual workers amongst other atypical workers.

Thursday morning I had a national level meeting with the BBC in the light of threatened ballots at the Arabic Service and World Service South Asia section. New talks covering both disputes have been agreed.

In the afternoon I met with some NEC members to discuss issues coming up at the weekend's National Executive Council meeting, held a budget appeal meeting and took a group of NEC members to see a potential new head office building - part of the building share project the NUJ is discussing with other unions.

Friday morning at 7.30am I was at ACAS with Telegraph management to discuss redundancies and then from 11am until 7pm was at the National Executive Council meeting. Saturday was the second half of the NEC meeting until 4pm.

The major discussion was around the building share project and endorsing the budget for 2008/9 (after an excellent 2-hour discussion), as well as key industrial discussions over negotiations at the Kerryman, redundancies at The Argus, offshoring at the BBC World Service, debates over our campaigns and parliamentary work with John McDonnell MP and much, much more. The meeting also confirmed the appointment of Michelle Stanistreet as our new Deputy General Secretary. I'm really looking forward to working with her.

Sunday I tried to catch up on some emails and had Monday off, although as usual couldn't resist checking emails all day long and answering phone calls and issuing a statement on the awful decision of the CPS not to seek a prosecution in the Terry Lloyd killing.

Maybe August will be quieter...

No comments: