Strong and Solid

The first four days were defined by a fresh enthusiasm, the strikers, younger and older, like kids on Christmas Day, each one carried along by the excitement.

Today, as the second four began, the fact the strikers were now all battle-hardened was clear to see. As previously said, Tuesday’s chapel meeting was held in an air of relaxed confidence, a clear effect of people standing side-by-side on the line. Today, the NUJ members showed a grim determination while staying positive and good humoured, some of the jokes drawn straight from the journalists’ tradition of black humour, any wide-eyedness from the first strike now gone.

The experience could be seen in the organisation, people taking the fight to PA’s doorstep, co-ordinating the local publicity, Roman working his magic with the camera yet again and the team that headed out to petition in town.

Welcome re-inforcements, fresh faces, were on the line, three lads who were away on holiday last week, while the early birds were boosted by the 7.30am announcement of the arrival of The Hud’s son. Well done mother, father and child.

Your chapel clerk headed off for Ireland at dinner-time, ready to speak to colleagues across the water. As I was in the air, the news came through about the Derry Journal’s thumping ballot result, a massive mandate for their strike. Well done to them all, and I can’t wait to speak to them tomorrow.

Other chapels who are balloting, or thinking of it, look at the marvellous events in Leeds and draw strength from them. Contact one of the Leeds strikers and we’ll come and visit you. The more of us that act, the stronger we are.

We as workers do our jobs and do them superbly well, taking pride in our work. We must also remember the power we hold as a unified, organised workforce, power we would never use lightly, but at times of real need.

Now, as we witness a pivotal point in journalism, our industry being changed before our eyes, is one of those times. Look to Leeds. Have no fear. And do what needs to be done. See you back on the line on Saturday.

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