Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brighton ruck

The blog's been taking a well-earned sabbatical (i haven't - i've just been handling issues on pensions, staffing and buildings which make dull copy) - but now it's back with a vengeance. Hello, from cloudy Brighton.

I'm just leaving this year's TUC Congress where apart from the delights of dinner with the Prime Minister (at which we got jokes and a lecture as to why we have to show restraint and not ask for more pay) and a speech by Alastair Darling (at which we got the same lecture but no jokes) the NUJ delegation worked hard to
raise the issues faced by members - with motions passed on civil liberties and journalism, equality, redundancy laws, ownership of the media and public service broadcasting.

I moved our composite motion on civil liberties and launched a
film of recent evidence of the police clampdown on independent journalism and wrote an article for New Statesman from Congress.

I also chaired the conference's biggest fringe meeting with the head of the Colombian CUT (equivalent of the TUC) and spoke at the NO2ID rally highlighting the concerns of journalists and at the launch of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group, a new Parliamentary Group bringing together unions such as PCS, FBU, RMT to co-ordinate our work across a range of issues. The meeting was lively, well-attended and the group is an important new development.

So what else has been going on?
Last night I hosted a telephone conference of Johnston Press reps - we both expressed our
solidarity with members in Sheffield who had taken industrial action earlier in the day and pulled together our plans for co-ordinating our action across the group over the coming weeks.

We've spent time with lawyers too - not least because of the Telegraph's threat to injunct us and it looks like we'll be spending time with Express members as Richard Desmond reacts to the rising price of large cigars by threatening to sack dozens of his journalists.
Roy Greenslade describes Des as the "worst newspaper owner in the last 60 years" - and there's some stiff competition.

Michelle Stanistreet took up her post as Deputy General Secretary on Monday - so now I can share the blame again for everything that goes wrong (but take the credit for everything good we do - only joking!)

Having been away at TUC for three days I now have 316 emails to answer. Well that's today taken care of...

No comments: