Saturday, April 02, 2005

A press release from my union, the RBA:

"Joe Gordon, the bookseller dismissed by his employer for airing his thoughts in a web log (“Blog”), has successfully appealed against his dismissal and has been offered reinstatement. He had, however, been headhunted by The Forbidden Planet chain of specialist bookshops, and an amicable settlement was achieved in place of reinstatement.

Paul Lee, RBA National Officer, said “It is good to see that common sense prevailed and pleasing to report that our representations in the internal appeal were well heard and acted upon. I was surprised by the original, local decision to dismiss as Waterstone’s has a good reputation in such matters, and the company is generally very open-minded. Things may have been different, however, if commentary such as this had been truly in the public domain rather than in a hard to find blogsite”"

And yes, folks, that is it all over finally and I can tell you about it. Actually the appeal was upheld several weeks ago and I was offered re-instatement, but by this time I had been offered a new post with Forbidden Planet International and I really couldn't tell you all about it until something was worked out. To be fair Waterstone's got together freely with Paul, my stalwart union rep, to work out an equitable and amicable deal in place of re-instatement and so, after a long haul these events have now come to quite a civilised end, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the union (thanks, guys - having you in my corner helped to lift the weight and once again I commend them to anyone not in a union).

It has often been stressful and my friends and family have been quite wonderful in ensuring that I didn't succumb to the hovering vultures of depression or anxiety during it all. And finding a whole world (literally - folk from all over our little world; amazing) of new friends who I didn't even know was remarkable; the help and support I've enjoyed from the SF and the online and blogging community has been astonishing and I was taken aback at the media interest world-wide.

Back in the prehistoric days of the net, before GUIs and the web, we talked about a global electronic village and virtual communities. Having dinner with a friend recently she remarked that she thought this talk of virtual communities was nonsense (she didn't put it quite so delicately). Well, I've had a first-hand demonstration that there most certainly is a virtual community and that community cares and will help people they don't even know - recent use of the web and blogs for charity and to aid communications during the Asian Tsunami re-inforce this message, as does the growth in people supporting movements such as the Comittee to Protect Bloggers.

Folks, this whole period would have been far heavier to bear without all of that support, so well-intentioned and freely given and once again I thank you all for it very humbly; it really lifted me when I needed it and kept me going. Guess you could say I got by with a lot of help from my friends. The fact so many of you have been coming back to the Woolamaloo to visit is also very gratifying and I enjoy reading and interacting with your comments (isn't that one of the reasons why so many millions of us blog? Its not a solitary pursuit, it allows us to interact with so many different types of people) and I hope you'll still swing by. Now, if you'll excuse me I intend to go and have some very large drinks.


Blogger adrock2xander said...

Hey Joe!

Im so glad things are FINALLY workin out for ya...the bloggin community apart...i sincerely believe ya family and friend's support helped you tide over...the bloggin community did what we could :O

You seem to have settled down nicely...what with the bruhaha blowin how are you livin ya Hollywood lifestyle these days? Oh cmon...ya famous! :O

7:57 AM  
Blogger Bibliovore said...

That's fantastic news Joe! I'm really glad to hear that it's all worked out in the end. The LJ Booksellers community were all rooting for you, and I think it's wonderful that so many authors weighed in with their support too.

From what I hear, it couldn't have happened to a nicer fella!

Ash, Bookseller and Bibliovore

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Pete, Leeds said...

That's good news Joe, glad it worked out.

I guess the exposure you got must have helped a little. I must admit, I'm going to find a union now. I wonder if your union could help computer people?

Off to post in your Doctor Who comments now.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Ian said...

Hi Joe; good to see that it all sorted itself out. I'm another Edinburgh resident and one of the (no doubt) many who only found out about the Gazette from the publicity and have been coming back regularly. I might even bring myself to go back into Waterstone's again now!


9:56 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hi Joe,

Not much to say really, except excellent news. No doubt Waterstone's will also be glad to see an end to the matter (all that bad publicity). I hope this sets some kind of precedent. Anyway, I'm glad it ended well for you.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad you have been seen to fair and reasonable after all. I would appreciate you passing on my regards to Paul at the RBA, who I had to speak to on a number of occassions.
Join folks, it works.

Use the money wisely, ninja suits for your cats, perhaps?

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Col said...

Hello Joe,

I picked up your story a couple of months ago, I cant even remember how I heard of you to be totally honest, but I thought I would bookmark your site and check on the progress.

I was so disgusted by the descions your former Employer had made.

I would like to say how delighted I am that you have settled this issue and that they were prepared to reinstate you, that is excellent news.

I feel this will set a precident, two friends of mine are now in the process of going through a VERY similar situation to yourself, and I will be taking your story back to them.

Best of luck for the future.
Colin F. Ord

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Steven said...


Really pleased this has all got sorted out. Didnt know much about blogs until I read your story and have been loggin on for the updates and other posts ever since. Might even start my own blog if I can sit still long enough.

If you do buy ninja suits for the cats as has been suggested, can you tell me where you got them - my two have been re-enacting the slow-mo scenes from the matrix all night.

Cheers Joe,
All the best!

8:22 PM  
Blogger MarkFarley said...

Hey Joe,

Congrats on the resounding victory. As a fellow blogging bookseller, this is not only great news setting a precedent to protect not only other booksellers and bloggers but also shows what a great character you have had through all the adversity. They treated you like shit mate and now I hope that the irresponsible line manager is disciplined for himself bringing our company into disrepute and creating all of that bad publicity at such an important time of year for sales.

All parties, it seems have gotten the best result that they could have hoped for. Without the great help from the RBA and no doubt the efforts of the poor people in Head office this mess has fallen upon the shoulders to clear up, I think things could have gone horribly wrong.

Good Luck to you at FP and much love from London Town. xxx

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Jane said...

Great news

I first saw your story on the BBC website and bookmarked your site as I found your writting style so amusing and wanted to know what happened.

I am glad you sorted it, glad that you were the member of a union, glad that the support help you.

I suspect you have been a pioner in this and thank heavens that others can see a positive outcome and be helped in their fights too

One small step for Joe one giant leap for freedon of speech

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Pandora said...

Congratulations. I'm really glad some good has come of this. Interesting as my boss showed me an article about your case (which I'd already been aware of) when she took me aside to caution me about my blog the other day. I'll have to update her.

Think I might be joining the union...

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Hilary said...

Congratulations! I'm so pleased that Justice has (for once) Triumphed!

Best wishes for your future career at the shop which, in your honour, I shall no longer refer to as Forbidding Prices.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news - Mr. Lee and the RBA also sorted things for a friend of mine, a victim of a bad manager at Waterstone's (who ultimately got his come-uppance although the company were willing to let him go on for years). Thank god for the RBA.

8:03 AM  
Blogger hockeyshooter said...

A big up to ya (as the youf of today are want to say) - glad its all sorted. Perhaps this whole jujuflop situation will give other organisations pause to carefully consider binning bloggers?

12:14 PM  

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