World Journalists Back Swedish Union Battle over Decent Pay and Authors’ Rights

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European regional body the European Federation of Journalists have called for “global solidarity” with journalists in Sweden who today were forced into a battle with the country’s newspaper employers.


Arbitration has failed to revive stalled talks over a new collective agreement for some 5,500 newspaper and web journalists. Newspaper owners across Sweden are trying to force journalists to sacrifice authors’ rights protection and have obstinately refused to entertain union demands for wage increases for all journalists, particularly for low-paid staff, and for greater employment protection.


“Journalists in Sweden now find themselves in the frontline of a major struggle in defence of decent work and employment rights,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Journalists across Europe and around the world recognise this is a fight in which we all have a vital interest. Swedish colleagues have our full support.”


The Swedish Union of Journalists (SJF) has triggered a ban on work beyond eight hours per day and 40 hours per week, starting today at 70 local newspapers. The ban will escalate in the coming weeks to cover about 100 newspaper companies, if no agreement with the Newspaper Publishers´ Association can be reached.


Some 20 newspapers have also been told they will not be able to handle or process any material, text or images, not produced by their own editorial departments.


At the heart of the dispute are controversial publisher demands for journalists to waive their authors´ rights. The union also wants wage increases, for all journalists but especially for some with very low wages in spite of long experience, and measures to counteract precarious employment.


“We said no in order to defend three prerequisites for good journalism – decent pay, secure employment, and authors´ rights,” said SJF Vice President Arne König.


The IFJ says it will do everything it can to mobilise support for the Swedish colleagues.


“This is a dispute that must be won,” said White. “We shall build global solidarity with the journalists in their fight for a fair and just settlement.”


Messages of solidarity can be sent to the union at kansliet@sjf.se. You can also find information in Swedish on the SJF web site: www.sjf.se.


For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide