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23 April 2007updated 22 Oct 2020 3:55pm

Union man’s disappointment

Bright is frustrated at the NUJ's decision to boycott Israel

By Martin Bright

I have to say that my trade union’s decision to boycott Israel is a massive own goal. My good comrade Tim Gopsill, editor of The Journalist, has gamely suggested the action can be seen as an act of solidarity with Palestinian journalists who have backed the kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston. Nice try Tim.

The NUJ has done some great work over recent years, especially in the area of freedom of information and official secrecy. On the less glamorous side it has also made some serious gains in terms of union recognition and even knuckled down to some real pay negotiations.

Pointless gestures such as this, just undermine the union’s credibility in its battles where it really can make a difference.

Unlike Times columnist and Tory MP Michael Gove, I will not be giving up my membership because that would be a gesture too. But there is a real need for union activists to get back in touch with working journalists, for whom this sort of embarrassing political grandstanding is completely unhelpful.

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