Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When the strikers went marching in...

We returned to work today with our heads held very high indeed. About 20 strikers gathered in a car park close to Newsquest York's offices just before 9am and marched in to the offices en masse - still united, still strong and still fighting.

Joint Fathers of Chapel Tony Kelly and Sam Southgate immediately presented managing director Steve Hughes with a petition signed by 900 readers and residents demanding fair pay for journalists at The Press and the Gazette & Herald.

This was the inspiring message to members from Tony

We returned to work today not in doom nor gloom, but in a positive, vibrant mood. We have not won our battle yet - it may well take quite a while - but we are already winners because we have shown such a unity of spirit, defiance, commitment and togetherness.

Can any of us have been prouder to be members of the National Union of Journalists than during our brave and concerted action throughout the York chapel’s five-day strike? No.

We might take some knocks in the next few days or weeks, but we have to remember the five days between May 22 and 26 when, as one, we supported each other, worked for each other, looked out for each other and revelled in each other’s determination not to be brow-beaten or bullied or battered

We now have a chapel of strength. We now have a chapel of character. We now have a chapel of purpose.

Those five days have given us that. They have earned respect across the city of York, across the union nationally, across the industry country-wide.

The taboo of taking industrial action has been shattered. There is no need to fear it. Provided we stick together we can embrace the notion of fighting legitimately for our rights and steadfastly pressing our claims for fair pay and better working conditions.

As said before, our stoppage reinforced our status as winners. Now let’s go on to even more memorable