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Journalists urged to take ‘proper’ lunch break away from newsroom

Journalists are being urged to organise a special lunch break outside of their office following an initiative launched by colleagues at two sister dailies.

The National Union of Journalists wants its members across the country to take part in a ‘longest day lunch’ scheme on 21 June in order to draw attention to the importance of taking breaks from work.

The initiative follows on from a motion by the Johnston Press group chapel, adopted at this year’s NUJ delegate meeting, which highlighted an event organised in Leeds last June to “remind members of their legal right to breaks during the working day and the health benefits of having proper lunches”.

Last year chapel members at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post left the newsroom to take a picnic beside the River Aire, but retreated to a conference room when it started to rain.

Picnic-basket

Georgina Morris, mother of chapel, said: “An invitation sent to members and non-members highlighted the legal right of workers to take an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes during any shift of six hours or more.

“It also reminded them about their contracted hours and how the company’s standard shifts should include a 30-minute break.”

This year’s event is being organised by the NUJ’s newspapers and agencies industrial council.

13 comments

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  • June 12, 2018 at 7:05 am
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    It would be interesting to see how many of the regional press company heads come out and openly give their support to this basic initiative.
    Even more so if they allow it to happen as we all know they view anything other than being chained to the keyboard and rooted to the office as ‘not being on the bus’
    I remember one pompous group head taking staff to task in a big meeting for being seen out in the city during lunch hour when the company was missing budget and when they could have been working. He then announced the offices would remain open half an hour longer at the end of each day equating extra work time would bring in extra revenue….it didn’t and only proceeded to further demotivate the commercial staff.

    Will they support this move?
    I won’t hold my breath

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  • June 12, 2018 at 8:49 am
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    Journalists taking lunch breaks? Hold the front page – whatever next? Journalists going to the pub after work for a few beers? Hashtag – best place to find a story is in a pub (well, that was true until – sadly – the invention of Facebook!)

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  • June 12, 2018 at 8:59 am
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    @Archie
    I remember that infamous meeting too when he also said if they worked harder and longer they could have “that second of third holiday” when most couldn’t afford t take one let alone three!
    I wonder what happened to him after he wrecked the business then left with a golden handshake

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  • June 12, 2018 at 9:37 am
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    I wish HTFP had asked my permission to use that snap of my lunch circa 2013. The wine was an excellent Pauillac 1998 by the way, a snip at two-grand a bottle and highly recommended to everyone still labouring in newsrooms.

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  • June 12, 2018 at 10:24 am
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    @ClemDeBrulay
    It looks like a typical boardroom snack for the top floor johnnies ( no pun intended) from here at the towers

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  • June 12, 2018 at 10:37 am
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    Hmmmm let’s see what I’ve got today! Oh my! Veal sweetbread with wild garlic, almond and Madeira, followed by sea bass with artichoke, fennel and lemon and for pudding? Oh a Apple Mousseline with marigold and buttermilk sorbet. A glass or two of La Grande Année Rosé 2005 Bolliger too.

    Yeah, alright, cheese sarnie and a packet of crisps in the car with the laptop.

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  • June 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm
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    Not meaning to rub it in but at my last job to this in science PR we all stopped at 10.30am until 11am for a coffee and cake break, lunched at 12pm until 1pm and then stopped again for coffee and ice cream at between 3pm and 3.30pm. In my current role, at a different science firm, we break at 12.15pm sharing lunch together in the canteen before going off for a half-hour walk in the Oxfordshire countryside. We come back happy and more productive.

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  • June 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm
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    Yes, Toggy, dont forget your laptop. Or mobile phone. And if you can file ‘7 things to do with a baguette’ while you’re out that would be a bonus…

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  • June 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm
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    @prosoectus
    He now runs a pretentious B&B whilst still acting out the faux landed gentry persona
    No doubt stopping for a jolly good lunch at 1.00

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  • June 12, 2018 at 3:10 pm
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    @Jeremy Fischer Too busy painting with light for baguette fun. But I’ll do a nice colour piece on ‘sandwiches of our time’ instead. 😉

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  • June 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm
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    If there’s one piece of advice I’d give any young journalist now it’s not to work too hard because it won’t stand you in good stead anyway. I know that sounds cynical, but I worked through lunches, after hours, before work, you name it – and it just made me ill in the end.

    It counted for nothing either, couldn’t even get any basic favours after I left (such as agreeing to publish a music review free of charge so I could get tickets for a gig).

    Many of the people left at the top now are so unscrupulous and so utterly concerned with their own careers that they’ll just take until there’s nothing left.

    Be wary. Do a good job, do right by yourself – but remember at the end of the day it’s just a job and you have rights.

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  • June 12, 2018 at 5:32 pm
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    Two fingers to anyone who told me I couldn’t take a lunch break during the best of days when real newspapers were published. Anyway, no self-respecting reporter should take a break without returning with a story – from the pub if necessary! Ah, those were the days…

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  • June 13, 2018 at 5:16 pm
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    In these hard times there are many firms relying on the goodwill of staff to come in a bit early and stay a bit late. If everyone worked to rule the firms would probably collapse and go bust. In my old firm many of us were in the office by about 8.15/8.30am and left just after six. Officially the hours should have been 9 till about 5.15.
    Some hope. Now it’s worse and most offices have fewer staff. Miracles are made daily to get the paper out with so few. Reporters are also out taking more pix too. A hanging offence in my day.
    Pay turnstile loos will soon be installed plus new classes in singing the company song to boost morale and wearing of the company berets, proudly. Each notebook must last at least a month but there’s free use of company pencil sharpeners. Young Mr Grace says you’re all doing very well.

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