Love Letters

Every member of the joint Yorkshire Evening Post and Yorkshire Post chapel woke up today to find a letter, from MD Chris Green, sitting on their doormats.

In it, Chris again states that the redundancy terms will not change, while appearing to contradict statements he made to chapel officers in our final talks with him before the second four-day strike over whether the number of job cuts could be reduced below 15. Perhaps we were slightly cross-purposes in that meeting and misunderstood what was being said, although it seemed pretty clear to me at the time.

Whatever, he now states that the total of 15 can be whittled down through part-time working or job sharing. He also says that ‘the door was left open’ in the hope that, following the first four-dayer, chapel members would review the redundancy terms on offer. Interesting, that one, in that chapel members have been hoping for weeks that management would review those same terms, up the offer and let us all get on with our jobs.

The letter, quite conciliatory at first, then ups the ante slightly, as it now seems the starting pistol has been fired on the 15 redundancies, the 30-day consultation now presumably underway.

Members have also been told they will not be paid for any hours they put in on the day of the planned mandatory meetings. Any graft done on those days, will, apparently, be seen as ‘voluntary,’ and so will go unpaid. A bit like all the extra, voluntary hours and goodwill that members routinely put in to the two papers then. Union full-timers are looking into the legality of the company’s position, while local officers will seek clarification on any other bits necessary. Any questions, as always, see one of us.

In the background to all this, the pickets put in their seventh day of determined action. There was a relaxed, weekend-like vibe on the line, but the strikers again went over and above, covering all three main strike positions until just before 3pm. Loads of leaflets dished out, the usual orchestra of horns and even a visit from an exiled Loiner and ex-YEP staffer who now lives in Canada. He’d heard about the strike and proposed cuts and came down to show his support. Thanks again to all, and also to the passing public for their unstinting support.

I made it just after noon, having flown from Belfast at 9am, the effects of last night’s beer thankfully staying back in Ireland, meaning I turned up fresh for the picket. The news from our comrades at the Derry Journal raised a big cheer in Leeds.

Right. Once again I’ve avoided the Boro score, and, seeing as we played Liverpool today, that might have been especially unwise. Forty-five minutes until Match of the Day. Where’s that bottle opener……..
See you back there tomorrow, a later picket (2.45pm) to catch Rhinos fans. In Solidarity, Ricardinhio.


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