World Journalists Back Dutch Strike at Metro Newspaper and Call for European Social Dialogue

The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists' group, today called on trade unions of journalists and media staff covering the European-wide network of Metro, a free daily newspaper service operating in major cities, to support a strike next week of the newspaper's staff working in the Netherlands.

The Executive Committee of the IFJ, meeting in Stockholm, the original base of Metro International, also gave its unanimous support to a call for European-wide discussions with the company to improve social and professional standards.

"The company in the Netherlands is proposing to cut its editorial workforce to absurd levels," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ and its regional organisation, the European Federation of Journalists, "if they succeed it is inevitable that professional standards and working conditions will suffer."

"The average Dutch daily newspaper operates with editorial staff levels of more than 120," says the IFJ "Now Metro, which already has an absurdly low level of only 15 news staff, plans a further reduction. It is completely unacceptable."

The IFJ called on Metro to negotiate a settlement of the dispute with the IFJ affiliate in the Netherlands, the Dutch Association of Journalists, and also called for a wider dialogue with the company. "Metro are establishing an innovative network, but this should reflect the highest standards of social and professional conditions throughout its international operations," said the IFJ.

"We urge the company to commit itself to higher quality and to good relations with its editorial staff by establishing effective social dialoge at both local and international level."

Meanwhile, the IFJ has called on all of its unions to give their full backing to the strike planned for October 24th in Holland. "If this strike has to go ahead, all IFJ and EFJ unions will give their full support," said Aidan White.