Friday, February 06, 2009

Snow joke (and a variety of snow-related puns)

Why is it the more you do the more interesting things you’d have to blog about but the less time you have to do it.

So, another quick catch-up, dominated by strike ballots.

Monday I braved the snow in suit and wellies – always a fetching look – only to find everyone I was due to meet hadn’t made it in to London. I did however manage to hold a telephone conference with Johnston Press reps about the latest situation and in particular building support for the strike ballots at the
Derry Journal and Yorkshire Post/YEP and plough through weeks worth of outstanding correspondence and wrote and did the lay out for our NEC newsletter, Informed.

Tuesday I met with Pension Trustees followed by the NUJ Staff Pension Scheme AGM – an hour of answering questions about the performance of the pension scheme. Never the easiest task – in the middle of a global economic meltdown (or is it a depression?) an unenviable one. Wednesday we had a 3-hour management team meeting before heading over to The Independent for their chapel meeting that massively backed a motion to move to
a ballot for industrial action.

Thursday morning I had negotiations with Morning Star management as part of the
current dispute there. Some progress was made and talks are ongoing. After a meeting with NUJ staff unions over finance and budgets I went across to City Hall to talk to Guto Hari, Boris Johnson’s head press honcho (and a former Cardiff School of Journalism classmate of mine). But that damned snow – and Boris’ response to it – kept intervening so we’ve rearranged for next week. We wrote setting out our concerns at the closures of local newspapers, loss of jobs and merging of newspaper offices in London, seeking the support of the GLA and Mayor of London for a campaign to protect diversity and quality in London’s media. From there a quick phone call to the BBC regarding our industrial action ballot there and to see what progress could be made in negotiations in advance of ballot papers going out and then straight over to the Morning Star for their evening Chapel meeting to report back on negotiations. Hopefully more talks will take place in the coming days.

Missed the
Money Programme on the future of newspaper industry last night but had some texts saying I looked like I was trying to hold up a building because of the way I was leaning against it – you know these TV types, getting you to pose for them. Hopefully that didn’t distract from making the important points about the damage being done to the industry by profiteering and unnecessary cuts.

And now it's snowing again. Great.

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