THE STRIKING workers had Squinter’s unequivocal support yesterday, even if on the busy ATN press day that support only manifested itself in a couple of beeps of the car horn on the school run.

Squinter’s been a member of the National Union of Journalists since he got his temporary membership card as a journalism student in 1982. But his support for the public sector unions exists despite and not because of his own experience as a union man. For your subs you get the press card, of course, a garish yellow and black thing that has come in handy perhaps two or three times aross the span of Squinter’s working life. The card is automatically renewed every few years and they’ve never bothered asking Squinter for a new photo – the same one has been on there for close to 20 years.

Squinter would love to say that when the death threats were flying he felt safe in the bosom of the NUJ, but when the last threat was made four years ago, with bullets and personal details being sent to UTV, the official NUJ statement was a boilerplate job that didn’t even mention Squinter by name.

He can only hope that the public service unions are more solicitous of their membership. They wouldn’t have to try too hard.