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Thursday, 18 June 2015

I nearly joined the Union

Back in the mid 1980s, I nearly joined a union. I was writing for several computer magazines as a freelance. It was a great deal for me. I could knock out a 1000 word article in an hour, writing it on a little computer I carried in the train as I commuted in to my day job, and I'd get £100 for it. And it was like a free advertisement too, because my name was our brand name. And on the rare days that I went in to visit the magazines, I went away loaded down with technical manuals and other good stuff.

After doing this for a while, my editor at PC Magazine told me that I ought to join the union - the National Union of Journalists. Well, when you're a freelance, you tend to do what your editor suggests, so I applied to join the NUJ.

They rejected my application, because I was only part time. Well, I wasn't too sad about that, I was only doing it to make my editor happy.

Then the NUJ called a strike against VNU, one of the big magazine publishers, they published of PC Week and PC Magazine. And they had a picket line. And I made a point of visiting that day, and walked through the picket lines, explaining to the pickets that since the NUJ wouldn't let me join the union, I wasn't going to support the NUJ strike.

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