Monday, December 22, 2008

Things can only get better/worse

It's hardly the time to be full of the joys of the season given employers are using the Christmas break to make redundancies, cut pay, close offices and reorganise in the hope that people won't want to take any action over the holiday period - we've even been forewarned of more announcements tomorrow.
These employers are all heart. I wonder how some of them sleep at night.
A head of steam is building up for the union's Jobs Summit taking place on 24 January...and expect to see some action early in the new year at two or three regional newspaper centres.

Back to the end of last week - met with the General Secretaries of Equity, Musicians Union and Bectu to discuss our work together over the coming year - and in particular the review of public service broadcasting which affects us all in different ways.

Then it was off to Sutton for a meeting about planned redundancies at Reed Business Information under the Disputes Procedure. No joy. Whilst we pretty much resolved one individual case there are two real outstanding issues on which there was no significant movement from the company - and we're refering the matter to ACAS in the new year.

A quick dash to White Hart Lane to see Tottenham fight back from a pathetic first half display to grab a 2-2 draw with Spartak Moscow...and qualify for the next stage of the UEFA Cup. On the way home we dream of a trip to Florence, Bordeaux or somewhere warm and beautiful. We get drawn against Shaktar Donetsk and then probably Aston Villa. The Ukraine and Birmingham. Oh, thanks.

On Friday we have a telephone conference with some of our reps from Newsquest, Trinity and Johnston Press to discuss some action against the cuts in the new year and we say a sad farewell to Linda York who is retiring after more than 30 years working for the NUJ. We'll really miss her. We run through the new online membership system and make a few amendments to try to make it as easy as possible for potential members to join...and catch up on letters and emails.

Today we've finally signed off all the documents relating to the union's staff pension scheme - effectively we have put up to £2m worth of NUJ assets in to the fund. We don't actually have to pay the money over until March 2011 but it is still a huge commitment for us. My hand shook a little as I signed the papers.

This afternoon I've staff meetings - and then I'll quickly try to clear emails and post before heading off for my Christmas break.

A big thank you and best wishes to all those NUJ members, reps, officials and staff members who have worked so hard for members during 2008. Those of you getting a break - enjoy it. Those of you working - remember if you're in trouble, I'm on call....

See you in 2009 - I hope it's a better year for pensions, jobs, local media, Tottenham....

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