Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flood waters rise...

Came in this morning to the news we'd been flooded after a water cooler exploded over night and so electricity and phones were out of order - ended up having to send most staff home with the building in darkness and no access to emails, computers etc.. The worst part was no coffee.

Luckily there was coffee at the Publishing Skills Council meeting - the first one I've been to since the convoluted process to enable the union to be represented whilst pretending it is not (I'm called the employee rep or something like that). The PSC is part of Skillset, the sector skills council and it was an interesting meeting beginning to get to grips with the big discussion about the skills needs of those entering the publishing industry today at a period of such massive transformation. There's a range of views around the table but a common understanding that good vocational training and clear advice about training and careers opportunities is important.

Yesterday I spent nearly 4 hours representing a member in a disciplinary hearing before heading to my own union branch - Central London. In the morning I attended the TUC Executive which adopted a good position paper on Digital Britain and in particular in opposition to top-slicing and in favour of the NUJ/BECTU position on levies.

Monday I had been at a meeting of the BBC World Service newsroom chapel discussing some of the ideas for campaigning around top slicing and the likely funding cuts World Service may experience when its Grant in Aid is reviewed as part of government spending plans.

It is clearly going to be a very difficult time for the BBC - we had briefings at the end of last week on the situation facing the pension fund and with Ben Bradshaw on the war path jobs and programmes are going to be under threat. We understand all too well why people want to criticise BBC management - we do it every day but we also understand why many of the media have an interest in attacking the BBC's funding and it is important we distinguish between addressing poor management and action which will weaken the BBC's public service broadcasting. At the moment the cuts include environment and economics correspondents and journalists covering world news and arts. Where's the 'tackling waste' in that.

Friday was the union's National Executive Council - 9 hours of debate and discussion on topics covering job cuts across the industry, union finances, membership, motions for annual conference, policy issues as well as topics like the News of the World hacking revelations and the implications of Digital Britain.

The NEC also gave its full backing to all those resisting job cuts at profitable media companies and those defending quality in their workplaces. Authority for action was given at newspapers in Middelsborough, Newcastle, Birmingham, at Penguin, at Signal Radio in Stoke whilst the NEC welcomed the campaigning in Scotland which had resulted in MSPs criticising the impact of cuts in newspapers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might want to learn how to spell Middlesbrough