EFJ Backs New Italian Strike as Journalists Fight For Fairness in Collective Agreements

Leaders of the European Federation of Journalists, meeting in Brussels today, have given their backing to a strike called for tomorrow by the Italian journalists’ federation which is demanding a fair deal from employers who are resisting their demands for new collective agreements.

“This is a battle for fairness and for justice in the workplace,” said the chair of the EFJ, Arne König. “Italian colleagues are facing a profound crisis of confidence within Italian media as a whole, now they are struggling for fair treatment of journalists at work. It is an action that will command support across Europe.”

The EFJ, which is the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists, is calling on all of its members in Europe to support the general strike called by the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) which is being called as talks reopen with groups of media employers in the press, broadcasting and news agency sectors.

“Collective agreements are threatened throughout Europe ,” said König. “This strike when viewed in a broader European context is an important action to defend labour rights. In Germany journalists had a similar bitter industrial dispute last year and in Switzerland journalists are working without collective agreement since last summer. It is time to stop this trend and employers cannot claim they are in hard times. All the figures indicate that 2004 was a very good year for the industry”.

The strike is targeting negotiations with the Federation of Newspaper Publishers (Fieg), the association of broadcasters Aeranti-Corallo and the public agency Aran, who are resisting renewal of the collective agreements in their sectors. Journalists and media workers in all areas will be affected, hitting daily newspapers, press agencies, freelances, weeklies and broadcasters. Only short news programmes will be broadcast on radio and television.

“If we want good information, we need good working conditions for journalists”, said König. “Thousands of journalists rely on the basic protection of their working conditions. Employers and the public should realise that damaging these agreements will only exacerbate the media crisis and hit morale among journalists.”

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The EFJ represents more than 260,000 journalists in 34 countries across Europe.