EFJ Backs Striking Journalists at Portuguese Public Broadcaster

The European Federation of Journalists today supported the strikers at Portuguese public broadcaster RTP (television and radio). The strike has been declared by three media unions against the intransigence shown by the company’s Council of Administration which refuses to continue the dialogue on a proposal for a collective agreement. According to the Sindicato dos Jornalistas, the EFJ affiliate in Portugal, the new deal proposed is unacceptable for workers and unions.

“Journalists across Europe support our Portuguese colleagues in their rightful struggle for their members and the conditions in the public service media sector”, said Arne König, EFJ Chair. “It is essential for the defense of public service broadcasting that employers in this field behave responsible and do not act against the interest of public service media”.

The strike was decided during a plenary assembly at the headquarters of the company, in Lisbon, convoked by three unions: Sindicato dos Jornalistas (SJ), Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Telecomunicações e Comunicação Audiovisual (STT) and Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores das Telecomunicações e Audiovisual (SINTTAV).

The unions are concerned about several core issues covered by the draft collective agreement such as the time period for salary scales to be effective, authors’ right, job description, weekly rest and sick pay.

The management of RTP intends to increase flexibility and multiskilling of journalists by introducing new rules for working hours and working locations that are not acceptable by unions. The Council of Administration also plans to introduce opaque dispositions on promotions and to introduce as yet unknown changes to the social security system.

Moreover, the Council of Administration stopped the negotiations with the three unions now on strike, under the pretext that “they are a minority” among the 13 negotiating unions, whereas in reality these three unions are most representative of the workers of RTP.

“This attitude is not acceptable”, said Arne König. “Throughout Europe, unions negotiate collective agreements and the management cannot exclude the journalists union or any other from the process of negotiation. We insist that the management reopens talks, in particular because public broadcasters should guarantee the respect of social rights and quality in the media”.

Journalists’ unions across Europe can send their messages of support to their Portuguese colleagues:

European Federation of Journalists : efj@ifj.org

Sindicato dos Jornalistas : sinjor@mail.telepac.pt