European and Global Journalists Back “Critical Strike” by 1,500 Broadcast Staff in Norway

The International Federation of Journalists today called on journalists across the world to give their backing to a strike at the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK where 1,500 journalists have walked out in a dispute that unions say gets to the heart of a crisis of confidence within journalism.

“This strike is a critical action in which all journalists have a stake,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “All around the world managements are trying to weaken unions and their bargaining rights at a time when media should be investing more in confident high-quality journalism. Our Norwegian colleagues have said enough is enough and they need our support.”

The IFJ says the public broadcaster has angered journalists by trying to weaken the agreement with the union and by refusing to accept conditions that exist everywhere else in Norwegian media.

The IFJ and its regional arm the European Federation of Journalists have asked journalists unions to send messages of support to the union and to voice their protests to the management of NRK.

The dispute centres not on the level of pay on offer, but attempts by management to dictate that some of the pay increases under a new agreement will be handed out on a grace-and-favour principle. Management want to choose themselves which individuals to reward. It’s a principle the union’s shop stewards refuse to accept.

The union says this is the latest attempt to undermine the existing agreement. They are also angered that management has refused to accept improvements in conditions and rights for the replacements/freelancers which are accepted everywhere else in Norwegian media.

The journalists’ union in Norway, Norsk Journalistlag, is today also negotiating a large central agreement for 3,500 journalists working on newspapers, magazines, internet media and local television. The union may be facing its second strike in three days if the latest talks do not succeed.

“Our colleagues in Norway are in the frontline of a campaign for rights at work and decent conditions that are of concern to all journalists,” said White. “We will give them our full support.
” Take action: send a message of support to
 Ms Eva Stabell, Norwegian Union of Journalists
 E-mail: eva.stabell@nrk.no

For more information please contact: +32 2 235 2215
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries