The European Federation of Journalists today welcomed the project by the National Union of Journalists chapels of the Independent News & Media (IN&M) group to explore the possibility of establishing a European Works Council (EWC).
“More than ten years after European law opened the door to European social dialogue, the press in the British Isles could now be joining the process, said Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary. “It is a welcome initiative by the workforce at Independent newspapers and we wish them well”.
The EFJ says that international media companies are present in most of the EU member states, and it is necessary for journalists and media workers to confront globalisation by developing such structures for information and consultation.
A meeting took place on 28 June in Dublin, with representatives of the Belfast Telegraph, Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, the London Independent and Sunday World chapels. Des Fagan, NUJ Irish Organiser, said that there are a number of shared concerns, which clearly reflect corporate policy, in particular the “inflated executive salaries (...), at a time when journalists are being lectured on pay restraint”. The union also hopes to work with sister unions representing colleagues of IN&M papers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
European Works Councils are international bilateral bodies representing management and staff in transnational companies. They are required by EU Directive 1994/45 in companies that have at least 1,000 employees within EU states, with at least 150 employees in each of two or more states.
The European Federation of Journalists already assisted the implementation of European Works Councils within the Norwegian media company Orkla, present in Scandinavia and in Poland. Last month it also organised the first preparatory meeting in Budapest for a European Works Council in the German media company Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung which owns several newspapers in Central and Eastern European countries.
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The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in more than 30 countries across Europe