Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 11/01/05

Write A Blog And Win...A Place In The Dole Queue

I'd never heard of Joe Gordon until today.

Then, on my daily trawl through The Register, I came across his story.

It's a scary thing when employers start to believe that they not only have the right to order you about when you're on the premises, but that they can decide who you communicate with (and in what way) when you're sitting in the comfort of your own lovely home.

Joe Gordon had, by independent accounts other than his own, worked very hard for Waterstone's in the eleven years he'd been with them, even to the point of doing a fair bit of work in his own time and at his own expense to promote his employers' events and services.

For some jumped-up little twerp of a new branch manager to sack Mr. Gordon without any warning whatsoever (and to use one of the favourite boss-yob catch-all excuses of 'bringing the company into disrepute') for writing a blog which seldom mentioned Waterstone's at all, and then in only a pretty oblique and generalised fashion, is beyond what we should be prepared to tolerate in a supposedly 'free' society. If, in fact, we do actually live in such a one.

It's particularly worrying that a business which, one would suppose, relies on the fact that we do have freedom of expression, should take such action.

If you buy books from Waterstone's, perhaps you'd like to consider an alternative stockist (perhaps not Amazon, though; they run Waterstone's website. Also, they call themselves Hatchard's in London and Hodges Figgis in Dublin).

Perhaps you'd also like to write to the company's head office at:

Waterstone's Booksellers Ltd
Capital Court
Capital Interchange Way

to tell them that you won't be buying from them again until such time as the matter is resolved to Mr Gordon's satisfaction (a tribunal case may be pending).

(Please be polite. Firm, but polite. It creates a stronger impression that way).

You may also wish to consider a boycott of HMV, which owns Waterstone's.

What I hope you will also do (as I will) is to support Joe Gordon's blog.

What with the whole nasty business of the ID Cards as well, we are in danger of losing what few rights we still have. Waterstone's (and other companies who try the same thing) can't be allowed to think that they own the minds of those whom they employ. Else we might end up with a song like this (with apologies to Merle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford):

"You work eleven years, and you toil and you sweat,
When a new branch boss who's a right little get
Says, "Boy, I don't like it that you're writing a blog,
So I'm going to flush your career down the bog"."

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