Posts Tagged ‘Chris Green’

Love Letters

February 28, 2009

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.


Deadlock and Frustration

February 23, 2009

Your chapel officers met the YP and YEP editors and MD Chris Green today – but left the meeting deadlocked after minimal progress.

The face-to-face was mainly amicable, as nearly all have been so far, but Chris, yet again, appeared completely unwilling to budge on his refusal to increase the redundancy terms.

The debate circled around and around, covering much old ground, for several minutes, officers making the point that management had yet to make many constructive offers for finding volunteers for redundancy, while rejecting ideas from the chapels, such as the Golden Day proposal. For those unfamiliar with the Golden Day, that idea was for YP/YEP NUJ members to donate a day’s salary to the company, it being so skint, in order for it to pay three weeks redundancy. Helpful lot aren’t we?

Deadlocked, officers agreed to hold an impromptu committee meeting away from the MD’s office, and conjured up a new set of proposals which will be put to Chris at High Noon tomorrow.

Meanwhile, as the communication lines remain open, preparation for Thursday’s four-day strike continue apace. The feeling in the newsroom was one of determination, colleagues acting as though they fully expect to be out again and coming up with some great ideas for the picket. One colleague even bemoaned the fact we were back today, saying he wished we had stopped out there, so good was the atmosphere and camaraderie.

More news will follow tomorrow. Sorry for the late posts and the lack of a pic from the walk-back. The Hud took one, but I was so busy I forgot to add it. It will follow in the morning.

In Solidarity, Ricardo.

A Proud Day

February 19, 2009

A magnificent day.

Just back home from a busy day on the picket line and down in the Peoples’ Republic of South Yorkshire, where our comrades at the Sheffield Star and Rotherham Advertiser have shown us superb solidarity.

Apologies to the Advertiser crew, as a packed train and my misguided faith in a pasty-looking bloke who told me I was at Swinton station proved, well, misguided, as I ended up in the middle of Rotherham, meaning I missed the meeting.

FoC Phil was very understanding about it, and an instant whip round there raised £40 for the strikers. Another collection in Sheffield raised £100. Many thanks to all who donated, a big help to the 120 who have given up their wages.

Before I left for the Peoples’ Republic, it had been an honour to stand on that picket line. To see our union comrades so energised, so committed, so determined to make their stand and push home their point, was wonderful to see. Big love and respect to all those who were there. This is OUR strike, we, as an organised, collectivised workforce, are making it the success it is, and the point we are all making cannot be ignored.

Big thanks to Shakinouts for coming down and playing for us, sorry I couldn’t be there lads but I had that job to do in south yorks. Everyone I’ve spoken to since getting back to Leeds said you were brilliant, they loved the songs.

Debating with Chris Green out there was interesting. As ever, Chris was smiley and polite, and didn’t say a great deal of substance beyond restating the company’s position that the redundancy terms won’t be improved. We shall see.
His tone, though, did seem more concilitatory, he agreed we all believe the future of local papers is important and said the red and white police style tape will come down for Friday, given that we didn’t bring “other people” along whoever those other people might have been. I’ve no idea, I’ll ask Chris the next time I see him.

The energy and vibrancy from the picket line was transported to The Old Steps, where I sat, tired but happy, chewing the fat with Red Ron, from about 7.30.

See you outside the building Friday morning – and I’ll have the boy on board this time.

Love and solidarity, Rich.