All About Me @ Jimsky's Emporium
- My name is Jim Flack and I was born in 1950.
- I have 2 absolutely superb children - Nicola and Andrew.
- Until 10.30am on Thursday 27th September 2001 I worked for British
Telecom and had done so since leaving school in 1967. However - I returned to work after my Summer
Holiday on Monday 24th and on the afternoon of Tuesday 25th I was offered 'Early Voluntary Release'
(as the Company is still 'downsizing'). They made me an offer I couldn't refuse and
after nearly 33 years with the company - I signed a bit of paper - and "hey presto" I
was retired on the Thursday !.
- I started with BT in July 1967 as a 'youth' (an apprentice).
I worked in many of the BT departments - including Power Maintenance, The Repair Service Control,
Underground Maintenance, Customer Apparatus and Line Maintenance, and External Planning. I also
spent a large proportion of that time as a Union Branch Officer, Regional Officer and National Executive
Member of the BT Trade Union (POEU, NCU and CWU).
The POEU [Post Office Engineering Union] merged with the CPSA [Clerical and Public Service Association
Post and Telegraph Section] to form the NCU [National Communications Union] and both merged later
with the UCW [Union of Communication Workers] and finally became the CWU [Communication Workers
Union] - representing over 250,000 workers in Telecommunications and Posts.
- While I was on the CWU NEC I went to Belarus as a Trade Union Tutor
- and I have detailed much more about this below (see:- 'How I got involved in Belarus').
It was in Belarus I met my second wife. It seemed a good idea at the time - but the marriage wasn't
to last. Life's always easy with hindsight isn't it.
- I am now married for the 3rd time - lets hope this is the last time
as my wife (Lynetta) and I are are very happy together.
- My current hobbies are Genealogy (Family History), messing around with
Web Design and travel. I do like travelling too - but it will now be mostly in the USA where Lyn
and I now live.
- After my 2nd Divorce my travels took me to the USA where I bought a
mobile home in Florida (Tampa to be precise) and met up with "Lynetta Sue" (a good old
American 'JimBob' sounding name). We got married on October 9th 2004 and live very happily now here
in Tampa (the odd hurricane permitting).
- Its so much warmer there than here in Newcastle and I have met a lot
of nice people too.
Its a bit strange driving on the other side of the road in the USA - and I have to keep telling
myself to DRIVE ON THE RIGHT - but over 35 years of driving on the left in the UK is a hard habit
I've managed to see quite a bit of Tampa (and surrounding area) so far and managed a trip to
Key West while I was there as well (only 90 miles to Cuba - I never knew that) - no wonder there
was the Cuban missile crisis in JFK's time.
- There are a few DOWNSIDES living in the USA mind you.
- NO football (ie thats the football where you kick the ball with
- NO Walls Pork Sausages - its all fancy spicey Italian type stuff
- NO Fish and Chips (ok you can get them from the "English Shop"
40 miles away near Tarpon Springs).
- No Beer - its all Lager - the yellow fizzy stuff.
- AND GEEZ - The healthcare costs here would frighten any UK citizen
to death (hmm - problem solved I suppose).
- On the UPSIDE though - thanks to that nice Mr Bush the dollar is near
an all time low so the the £ / $ exchange rate is brilliant and so its very cheap to live
here in comparison to UK. My £'s stretch like sooooper elastic. Its also great weather (on
the whole) here in Florida. And finally of course I'm here with Lynn - so that makes it a pretty
good place to be.
- My immigration papers are still being processed (to live here - not
to become a citizen) so lets not hope too much of the above is held against me ....hehe
OK - HOW I GOT INVOLVED IN BELARUS
In March 1999 I went to Belarus with the Jim Conway Foundation as a 'guest' tutor'. The
role of the Jim Conway foundation was to run a series of courses (funded by the 'Know How' fund
in Westminster) on Negotiating Skills. This was aimed at helping the developing 'Free Democratic
Trade Unions' to ensure they had the most up to date knowledge and expertise to allow them to negotiate
effectively with the employers of the workers they represented.
During the week I was there I was most impressed by the commitment and search for knowledge of all the
students. I made a number of friends and finished up inviting a number of them to England to the CWU's
Annual Conference so they could see for themselves how an established Trade Union conducted its business.
In May 1999, a total of 5 people were invited to the CWU Conference (4 delegates plus an interpreter)
and the delegation had a most enlightening time. The visit was funded by donations from supportive CWU
Branches and many thanks go to them for their help.
While in the UK, the delegation also took the opportunity of visiting the House of Commons, the House
of Lords and the TUC. The most telling point of all these 3 visits was when one of the visiting delegation
said as she watched all the visitors pouring in and out of the House of Commons:-
"Why does your government let the people get so close to the leaders (MP's) ???".
In Belarus it seems that President Lukashenko doesn't appreciate anyone getting to
close to him at all - well, that's the downside of being a tyrant I suppose !!!!
In July 1999, I went to Belarus for my 2 weeks summer holidays (a bit different from my normal pilgrimage
to Spain). I met Gennady Bykov (Chair of the BFTU) and my good friend Nicolai Kanah and his family.
I also met again with many other representatives of the Belarusian Free Trade Union.
One of the most memorable visits was when I was taken to see a local BFTU Branch representative (Dimitri)
in the town of Velaka and finished up on an overnight barbecue on a lakeside, deep in a forest in heart
of the Belarusian countryside. The lake (lake Naroch), the scenery, the vodka, the companionship (not
to mention the mosquitoes) were all most memorable.
In December/January 1999/2000, I again went to Belarus for 2 weeks. I met with many old friends again
and some new ones as well, notably 'Sergey Kukushkin' from an organisation called 'Zabota'
(the International Foundation for social support of children and youth).
Sergey explained at the outset that he wasn't after hand outs or money, but the 'Zabota'
organisation merely wanted to forge links with other organisations and people outside of Belarus who
wanted to help the children of Belarus expand their knowledge of the 'world outside' by organising
I have dedicated a bit of my web site to all my Belarusian friends, so please have a look at the BELARUS
With President Lukashenko being quite a Tyrant and certainly being hostile towards any form of democratic
bodies, my friends are struggling to survive in quite atrocious conditions.
They are merely fighting for a better life! A better life for themselves, for their families, for their
friends, and for their Country.
I will continue to do all I can to assist them - and I'd be grateful if you could read through all
my site pages, and maybe when you have finished, you would like to help too.
If you have any questions then please contact me on the e-mail address at the top of the page.
Hranie tebya Gospod (God keep you)
If you are interested in BELARUS, its people and culture then visit the site below.
© Jimsky's Emporium 2004 - 2008.