Grey Cardigan: Welcome to the Planet Guardian

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Younger readers won’t know what a sabbatical is. Derived from Greek or Hebrew, it is defined as “a rest from work, or a hiatus, often lasting from two months to a year”.

It used be be commonplace on some newspapers. My father, a hard-working hack, was granted a two-week sabbatical once he’d completed 20 years on his Fleet Street title. He used it to go into hospital and die of cancer on the operating table in his mid-fifties.

So excuse my bitterness when I read the following on the mediaguardian site tonight: “Guardian News & Media editorial staff today voted to oppose proposed changes to pay and conditions, including the axing of sabbaticals…

“NUJ members at the meeting were told that [the] company wants to end journalist sabbaticals – a four-week paid break for every four years of service.”

Let’s say it again: “A four-week paid break for every four years of service.” And that’s on top of a generous holiday entitlement.

I’m often criticised for having a prejudiced attitude to the pampered pissants who enjoy the profit-free protection of the Scott Trust. I think you can now see why.

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