Friday, September 04, 2009

And They Say Industrial Reporting Is Dead

As the city approached the Matthew Street money-making weekend, the Oldham Echo couldn't resist lapsing into pantomime mode, not, as you'd expect, by urging us all to wear mop-top wigs & yodel along to the old favourites, but to wheel out an old bogey figure from the 80s ( ).
Marc Waddington's turgid tract of tabloidese last Friday shrieked:
"The union chief involved in stalled negotiations over today's bin strike in Liverpool will be watching events from a sun lounger at a five-star resort in Crete, the ECHO has learned."
The notion of anyone on holiday "watching events" relating to an industrial dispute is a new one on me; perhaps live satellite link-ups were arranged just for the occasion, or perhaps it is now common practice, available to anyone on holiday, to watch live TV pictures of, well, not much really, just a few people entering & leaving a building where negotiations take place. Or perhaps it's just lazy journalism.
Waddington's slanted piece spoke about Ian Lowes, the GMB official concerned, not being "on the picket line" because of his holiday. Lowes is someone the Echo has long had in its sights. He was a key player during the 80s when his role on the Joint Shop Stewards Committe (JSSC) cemented the support of the local authority unions for the Militant council against the Tories & Kinnock.
Waddington's piece continued:
"The news of of his trip comes in the week that Liverpool city managers expressed frustration that attempts to get the unions back around the table had failed."
Presumably, this "failure" was caused by Lowes' holiday; managers had made "attempts" to get the seemingly recalcitrant unions back at the table, had they?
The article also alleged that Lowes' holiday had "infuriated some GMB members" who were "left to take the action" while the GMB official enjoyed "the island paradise".
So were any GMB members actually named &/or directly quoted in Waddington's piece? Er, no. He fell back on the typical tabloid trick of anonymity & third-hand sourcing. It did, however, quote Lib Dem Eddie Clein, as you'd expect. As for the GMB members, they were "left to take the action" which they'd voted for in a ballot; they didn't need Ian Lowes' hand to hold onto during last Friday's strike.


Prof said...

What a silly story. It is sad when alleged news reporting is slanted in this way resorting to perceived vendettas that have no relation to the actual news. So is the Oldham Chronic in support of the action, would it have been alright if Mr Lowes had been here? What is also often forgotten is that when they start attacking unions, the union members may just happen to contain amongst their numbers many of their dwindling readers. As the voice of merseyside (ha ha) should they not look to the interests of people trying to protect their jobs pay and conditions rather than indulging in personal grudges on behalf of whoever it is they think is interested?

Esther Johnson said...

That's about the level they have sunk to. Speaks for itself really. I shall stick to the free Metro on the bus.