Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The FCO has better canapes than the TUC

A relatively successful evening's schmoozing and lobbying at the TUC's annual reception for Parliamentarians.

First target was Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw to secure a meeting with him about Digital Britain and its implications for media workers. He's the first to arrive and I'm first in there. Job done.
Follow that up with a chat with John McDonnell about arranging a lobby of Parliament over top-slicing and then an agree with Tribune editor Chris McLaughlin to pen something about it for a forthcoming issue. Had a chat with TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady about the work of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions which is looking at a number of issues, including, thanks to the lobbying of ourselves and BECTU, the issue of the abuse of work experience. Frances sits on the panel for the TUC and has been instrumental in getting NUJ and other unions concerns on the agenda. The report is expected shortly and whilst it is unlikely to offer a panacea I am hopeful it will be another tool in trying to halt the shameful abuse of those wanting to break in to journalism and break down some of the barriers students from poorer backgrounds face in getting in to our increasingly privileged profession.
Catch up with NUJ members covering the event, like Kevin Maguire from The Mirror, communications and press officers from the CWU, Unite and others before Gordon and Sarah grace us with their presence and the PM says a few words while a few bemused tourists peer at him through the windows of Church House.

Earlier in the evening I'd been with campaigners from Colombia at a reception at Lancaster House where the new Minister Chris Bryant was due to speak. He hadn't by the time I left for the TUC event but I can report that the canapes were far fancier. But one question bugged me. It was an event about Latin America and all the serving staff were Latin American. Coincidence or cheap labour or tasteless gimmick? Answers on a postcard to.....

Today I've meetings on union recruitment followed by meetings of the National Joint Council (NJC) at the BBC with the Trust followed by a briefing on the state of play with BBC pensions.

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