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Let’s not be rude to each other

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12 February 2010 - 12:11 - #chair’s blog

Members who read our communications will know by now that head office deal with subs and press cards and that there have been some problems here.

I’ve mentioned difficulties at head office before and it has been covered in the grapevine but I’m told that NUJ subscription reminder letters are now being sent out.

As I’ve also said there are email addresses at head office to contact concerning subs or press cards queries.

Some members have not picked up on these communications and have been sending needlessly abusive emails. These have been sent not to paid NUJ head office officials - this would be bad enough as these people work very hard on our behalf - but to volunteers in the branch.

So just to clarify once again. I am a volunteer. I’m not paid by the NUJ. Everybody else on the branch committee, including secretary Alison Culliford and grapevine editor Kim Willsher who have been on the receiving end of some of the most incendiary of the flame-mail, is a volunteer. Nobody is paid. We do what we do because we believe in trade-unionism and the NUJ. We do it alongside our professional careers as journalists.

The current difficulties in the profession affect all of us with the result that both our own jobs have got more difficult and those of all our members which means our workload as volunteers has increased too. A double whammy.

The branch committee is hard-working and dedicated. We’re not perfect. We don’t have all the answers. We could do a lot more here in Paris if we had the resources and talent. It often feels like we’re wading through treacle. But I can say that we’re doing our best.

Whatever our shortcomings, we don’t deserve abusive emails from members who, in some cases, don’t seem to have even bothered to check the branch or head office websites. Personally I think some apologies are in order.

If you want to join the branch committee or replace one of us, the branch AGM takes place at the March meeting. I would urge anyone who has some time to donate to the NUJ to consider what they can do. I would also ask you to thank those who already volunteer for their time.

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3 Forum messages

  • I do thoroughly agree with Jim.
    There is nono need for abusive emails: they are undesirable, unnecessary and just add to the coarsening of civil society.
    One of the finest traditions of Reuters was the strict courtesy of terms in the service message, the equivalent of inter-office memos, even if one was being hauled over the coals.
    A question: how would you feel if you received your own email? Please do think, and think again, before sending.
    Pierre Tran

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  • Hi Jim, and everyone else up there in Paris........
    I read the news letter in disbelief......... It saddens me to hear .
    I just fely I had to write because I have never met such a helpful and lovely bunch of people, you know im a tiny piece in your union, but know that you all work hard and always help however big or small we are.For me personaly I think you are all very kind to give up yuor time to help us, you made a big differance to me, and its great to know you behind us.Not sure wether I should writethis but , i feel strongly because I know you put in time effort and you have your own stuff to deal with. Anyway enough from me, signing off.... little fish in bloody big pool....... lol ................. you keep me swimming........
    I know this isnt very proffecional but ...... lots love (it is nearly valentines ) to you all up there in the city of lights..... from me down here amongst the cow pats...with wellies....

    Best wishes......

    Jo Hoden......

    I think you all do splendid wor work.... thank you from me.... :)

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  • I may live too far from Paris to ever turn up for meetings, let alone take an active role in the branch, but I have had lots of contact with the people who run things and I’ve got nothing but good to say about them. I find it hard to imagine how anyone could be demanding and even rude with people who are just trying to do their fellow journalists a service. I’m sure there are things wrong with the way the NUJ operates, just as there are things to improve in every organisation, but we should at least distinguish between people who are doing their job in return for a salary and those who have stuck their hands up at some boring meeting and volunteered to take on a load of chores on our behalf for no reward. It is the latter kind of person that makes the world go around which benefits the rest of us.

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