Friday, October 17, 2008

Making capitalism history...

You spend your whole life campaigning for the nationalisation of the banks - and they go and do it while you're away on holiday! What an astonishing two weeks.

Yesterday I made history - and it's not every day you can say that at work. Matt Wrack the General Secretary of the FBU and myself became the first two trade union general secretaries to address a meeting at the SNP conference in Perth. We even had the First Minister Alex Salmond introduce us.

It was an initiative of the SNP Trade Union Group and reflects the constructive working relationship the NUJ in Scotland has developed with the new government over key issues of media ownership, quality in journalism and health and safety issues such as stress at work. My speech was well received and our attendance has certainly helped opened more doors for our activists and officials in Scotland to push the NUJ's case on core issues affecting our members.

Came back overnight on the sleeper from Perth before meeting with Tim Bowdler and Malcolm Vickers from Johnston Press this morning.

Earlier this week I attended the TUC Executive and raised the need to urgently lobby around amendments to the Employment Bill and met with ITV M/FoCs as we step up our campaign against the 420-plus job cuts and the axing of local and regional services across the group. Ofcom have given the green light for the cuts but we're still intensively lobbying the politicians and setting out alternatives in a bid to save ITV news.

I've also been shortlisting and interviewing for a number of vacancies and/or new posts at the NUJ. At least one of those new posts will replace Tania Caporaso who as well as having been a key part of our campaigns team has also taken on the dubious pleasure of being by PA for a long time. I'll be really sad to see her go, she's been fantastically hard-working and a good friend.

Apart from that it's catching up on correspondence and emails - and there's plenty of it after being away for two weeks.

Among the more interesting invites I received while away is to give evidence on Tuesday to the Joint Committee on Human Rights over our concerns about surveillance of journalists and police harassment of photographers. As if I needed more evidence there were further incidents earlier this week.

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