Do ABC staff have more to lose than gain from striking? Yes, ABC New and Current Affairs director John Cameron told them in an email last Friday:

From: Louise Lander On Behalf Of John Cameron

Sent: Friday, 20 October 2006 3:48 PM

To: @NewsCAff_All_Staff; Ake Prihantari (E-mail); Alice Peni (E-mail); Andrew Geoghegan; Ari Wuryantama (E-mail); Baralee Meesuk BKK (E-mail); Baralee Meesukh; Brant Cumming (yahoo) (E-mail); Bronwen Kiely; Charles – Li Bin (E-mail); Charlotte Glennie (ABC Beijing) (E-mail); Charlotte Glennie (E-mail); Dan Sweetapple (hotmail); David Hardaker (hotmail) (E-mail); David Hardaker; Donna Mountain; Drew Ambrose; Edera – Liang Yan (E-mail); EmmaGriffiths (hotmail); Firmin Nanol (E-mail); Foreign Desk; Geoff Thompson (gmail) (E-mail); Geoff Thompson (hotmail); Grady Houseknecht; Irina Stelliferovskaya; James Deane; Jane Hutcheon (E-mail); Jane Hutcheon (offbase) (E-mail); Janet Silver; Jason Racki (backup yahoo) (E-mail); Jason Racki (E-mail); John Peter (E-mail); John Taylor (backup hotmail) (E-mail); John Taylor (bigpond); Jun Matsuzono (E-mail); Justine Kerr (ABC London) (E-mail); Karan Singh; Karen Percy; Karen Percy; Karen Percy (yahoo) (E-mail); Katherine Gunn; Kate Gunn (yahoo) (E-mail); Kate McCure (E-mail); Kim Landers (AOL) (E-mail); Kim Landers (hotmail) (E-mail); Li Leting (E-mail); London bureau; Louie Eroglu (yahoo) (E-mail); Maggie Jones; Mariana Dashevskaya (E-mail); Mark Douglas (E-mail); Mark Douglas (hotmail) (E-mail); Mark Simkin (AOL) (E-mail); Mark Simkin (hotmail); Mark Willacy (E-mail); Mark Willacy (hotmail); Matt Brown (gmail) (E-mail); Matt Jasper (E-mail); Michael Cox (London) (E-mail); Michael Cox (yahoo); Michael Rowland (AOL) (E-mail); Molatelo Mainetje (Joburg) (E-mail); Olga Pavlova (E-mail); Peter Cave (on the road) (E-mail); Peter Lewis (gmail) (E-mail); Peter Lloyd (E-mail); Peter Ramatseba (E-mail); Philippa McDonald; Philippa McDonald (travel) (E-mail); Rafael Epstein (Office) (E-mail); Rafael Epstein (travel) (E-mail); Ranya Kadri; Richard Dent (E-mail); Rosalind Kaopatumtip; Sean Dorney (hotmail) (E-mail); Sean Dorney; Shane McLeod (hotmail) (E-mail); Shane Mcleod; Shane McLeod (travel) (E-mail); Simi Chakrabarti (hotmail); Stephanie Kennedy (gmail) (E-mail); Stephen McDonell; Stephen McDonell (gmail) (E-mail); Stephen McDonell (hotmail) (E-mail); Steve Marshall (gmail) (E-mail); Tal Dvir (E-mail); Tim Bates (yahoo) (E-mail); Tracy Bowden (personal hotmail) (E-mail); Tracy Bowden (work hotmail) (E-mail); Wayne McAllister (gmail) (E-mail); Wayne McAllister (hotmail) (E-mail); Woody Landay; Yayoi Eguchi; Yumiko Asada; Zoe Daniel (E-mail); Zoe Daniel (hotmail) (E-mail)

Subject: Note from John Cameron Importance: High I believe there’s enough mutual respect between myself and many News/Caff staff for this note to be accepted by you in good faith. It is your right to disagree, but it’s also my responsibility to lay out the facts in the face of the ongoing industrial action. I’d ask that you give serious consideration to the wisdom of the action. The union rhetoric does not match the realities:

  • The pay offer – 12 per cent over three years – is reasonable by most external comparisons.
  • The offer is more than the ABC has been funded for.
  • ABC journalists have historically had job security and other benefits not enjoyed by other media organisations.
  • However, the size of the offer means we will have to again consider job cuts. And any further increase would certainly lead to the loss of editorial positions and a reassessment of our program priorites.
  • You should be fully aware that the unions are putting your jobs on the line – whether you are a union member or not.
  • I’ve been here 23 years, and I respect that union and/or staff campaigns in the past have been fought and won on good, solid ground. This is not one of those. There have been no significant trade-offs or concessions during the enterprise bargaining process to allow a higher wages offer. You are not losing anything. In fact, there have been some improvements to your conditions. But, primarily, the deal is about salaries – and the offer is a very fair one.
  • I know that many staff are unhappy at the union tactics and the disruption to their programs, let alone their loss of pay and the delay in receiving the full offer.
  • I ask that you consider whether you are prepared to continue with rolling industrial action, given the above points – and considering that there is no more salary funding available.

Let’s get on with our program-making – and at the same time protect your jobs and the editorial health of the News and Current Affairs division. I’m more than happy to discuss any of the issues involved in more detail, with individuals, program areas or state and regional newsrooms.  Regards John Cameron Director News and Current Affairs