Start at the bottom - A strike makes Neil Start question his colleagues' love of goldfish

Tuesday: Under siege at the Goldfish Action Group. The disgruntled staff, who broke up our staff awayday with their demand for private health cover because of what they claim are dangerous working conditions in an office full of goldfish tanks, are now officially on strike.

I'm one of only two 'scales' - the protesters wanted to find a goldfish-friendly variation on 'scab' - to cross the picket line. The whole charade is getting GAG more media attention than we've ever generated from our campaigns - though usually in the 'and finally' slot at the end of the news, as if the whole thing were a joke. Which it isn't from where I'm sitting. To top it all off, our motivational speaker from the awayday, who I inadvertently left locked in a side room peeing into a cup, is threatening to sue me for false imprisonment.

Still, count your blessings, as my granny used to say as she retrieved another bottle of Guinness from inside her record player. At least Anka, our Latvian receptionist and my very recent ex-girlfriend, has joined the strikers, so that's one less heartache to confront each day over a tank of murky green water.

Wednesday: The strikers have come up with a new demand. They have produced research to show that avian flu could pass to goldfish that are eaten and then regurgitated by infected birds. They now want us to be issued with gas masks before we go into the office because of the risk to human health.

Thursday: Beginning to wonder if the strikers actually like goldfish.

With every demand they make emerges an ever greater distaste for the creatures we are meant to protect. Now they want free counselling to deal with the emotional stress of having to look at goldfish every day while at their desks.

I'm trying to stay out of it and work on David's plans to get an honour for our soon-to-retire head of publications, Jerome, the other unrepentant 'scale'. Have letters in place from various MPs, but am struggling with an endorsement from his previous role at Cemetery Watch, which aimed to prove there was a spirit life with night-time infra-red cameras in graveyards.

All his fellow patrons are now dead - but when I called the daughter of one of them, she pointed out that if I camped out next to his grave overnight I might get his spirit to sign Jerome's nomination paper.

Friday: After a hard day's bargaining, the 'Storm in a Fishbowl', as The Sun has dubbed it, is over. David has agreed to air conditioning in the offices to cut down what the strikers regard as health-threatening condensation, and they have dropped their demand for Bupa. So no more calls from supporters cancelling their direct debits. But a part of me was rather enjoying office life with only fish for company.

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