Casual work

My work at The Guardian is called ‘casual’. Because I don’t go there every day, or regularly. I am in the ‘Night Uploaders’ team.

We quickly proof-read the articles, which are already being printed, in case some mistake has slipped the attention of the sub-editors that are specifically employed for such mistake-spotting among other things, and then add some basic html coding and some relevant, pre-determined links. It is done every single night, and every single article published on paper is uploaded to the website, but for these stable jobs The Guardian employs casuals who can not stay employed for longer than ten months in a row to avoid having to contract us as regular employees. So in ten months time, I will need to find income somewhere else, with the option to come back after four months or so.

No Borders

On one of the email lists I am in, there is an email from No Borders. The work they seem to do now is the punctual service: visiting asylum seekers locked up in detention centres.

‘We need people to help / visit detainees, asylum seekers that are awaiting deportation’, the email says.

My mind goes to the gospel, to the bit where God rewards those who visited people who were ill or in jail.

This is punctual help to individual people. Mostly men. The women seem to be locked up in another detention centre, too far away from London for unemployed or low-waged volunteers to afford to go regularly. So they stick to the detention centres next to Heathrow, one tube ride away.

Visit detainees. That is not going to tear apart the borders, NOBorders. But it is (sold as) part of a wider strategy, against all borders. This is the ‘detainee support group’ part of NoBorders. Because it is not fair that people have (or not) the right to live here based on where they were born.

I write back to offer to volunteer.

The Guardian

Very first day at The Guardian. Some kind of induction day.

A tall guy who seems that will be my supervisor spends too long explaining how the articles are classified, tagged and formatted, ready for uploading. I am also supposed to read them and pick up mistakes that may have slipped through the several layers of sub-editing. These are articles that have already been sent to the printers; any correction will only come up on the online version.

Telling it

Back in Europe, it’s Christmas time, so it is not quite going back to normal. Not just yet. In one hand, it is Christmas time. Lights in the streets, jolly and empty music. So, even if Palestine had not happened, this would still be that time of year where routine breaks to make it all family and all special. In the other hand, I am eager to tell as many people as possible about what I have seen and heard in Palestine. Part of my family listens, and then there are comments like “So out of the whole world to go on holiday, you had to go to a war zone?” “yeah they want independence, just like here” “well we probably don’t see as many tanks in the streets as they see there”. Besides, they all have their own stories to tell.

Efficiency

Today I had to fight with a company which, as far as I am concerned, is quite nicely taking the piss out of us. I now realize that even in the companies that do not have the call centre/customer services on the other side of the planet, the departments are totally separated, specially those most in contact with the client: the one actually producing the service and the one receiving our complaints and tantrums.

Advertising

Another day as a guest in the lunchtime show. There was an unusual jam near Victoria that made the bus journey double in time, so at one point I got to the tube… well, the advertisements were actually different from those I saw last time!

Audios 03

Here are the audios about privatisation of education and other public services in the UK – they call it private finance initiative, public private partnership… but all the interviewees know that it is privatisation.

http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2005/05/4991.php

McDonalds

A friend told me this morning, quite happily, that he has no problem eating in McDonalds. I got quite angry.

Credit History

>A friend of mine wants to pay his phone bill monthly but they are not letting him to do so. Why? Because he is a bl**dy foreigner. I guess they ave asked him how long he has been living here and since he has not been here more than 3 years, they have refused him as a customer. Why did they offered this to him in the first place?

Underground

I had to get on the tube today because there was such a big jam. It may have been half a year since I last used it. For non frequent users, the first thing that strikes is the obscene amount of advertising present everywhere, at least once you pass the barrier gates.