The latest issue of the NUJ‘s magazine, the Journalist, has an article by my former boss, Mark Hayes. I used to work for him on a magazine called Hotel & Restaurant, until 1996. Late that year, the management gave me the choice of being made redundant or moving to a job I didn’t want on another one of their titles. I took the latter option, and less than a month later found myself a new job with my current employer.
The way they treated Mark was even worse, as his article describes:
*Management’s response was to unfairly criticise my performance, freeze my salary and threaten me with disciplinary action. I reached breaking point in May 2001, when I went off sick with a severe stress reaction to my workload and the way Quantum management were mistreating me; I lost my voice. I could not speak. *
They drove him to the edge of a breakdown and then dismissed him while he was off sick. Two years later, with the backing of the NUJ’s lawyers, he has won £93,000, costs and a moral victory over Quantum Business Media.
It’s a damn shame it came to this, though. Mark is an extremely talented journalist and editor, and has the awards to prove it. It’s a shame that some publishing companies don’t have the intelligence to realise the gems they have in their organisations.