The European Federation of
Journalists today called on journalists across Europe to support journalists at
the BBC who have launched a strike campaign to defend pension rights. At the
weekend journalists staged a successful 48-hour stoppage across the network,
forcing a number of flagship programmes off the air. Now fresh actions are
planned as the network seeks to impose a "pay-more, get-less" retirement plan
on thousands of its staff.
"The BBC journalists are showing the way to tackle
head-on the media agenda of cuts and down-grading of staff rights," said Aidan
White, EFJ General Secretary. "It's a strike campaign that will resonate in all
European media houses where journalists and media staff are being targeted to
shoulder the burden of the financial crisis."
The EFJ says that European journalists are facing
savage budget cuts, declining social rights and a lack of social dialogue not
just in the broadcasting sector, but across the whole of the media landscape.
BBC journalists, who registered a 70 per cent vote
against the network's new pension plan, plan a second two-day strike on
The strike campaign was launched after weeks of talks
between the unions and management failed to find an agreeable solution to the
pension fund crisis. In addition the government has told the BBC to shoulder
the costs of its World Service network which has hitherto been paid for from
the budget of the Foreign Ministry. It has also had its licence fee frozen for
The EFJ and its affiliate in the UK, the National
Union of Journalists, fear that the regime of cuts and devaluing the pension
entitlement of staff will both undermine the network's commitment to high
standards and also unfairly penalise thousands of staff who had been paying
into this fund many years.
"We've been overwhelmed over the past 2 days by the
support we've had - not just from staff right the way across the BBC, but from
the public and other workers. BBC colleagues in our sister union, BECTU
have inundated us with messages of support, with many refusing to cross picket
lines to go into work. It's clear that staff right across the BBC are keen for
us to win - as it would mean a better pensions deal for all" said a statement
of the NUJ.
The conviction of the journalists at the BBC over the
justice of their case has led to widespread support at home and abroad and the
union plans to continue its campaign, including, if necessary, to call strikes
over the Christmas and New Year period.
"The BBC strikes are actions in which we all have a stake,"
said Arne König, EFJ President. "Which is why we shall do everything we can to
give them support from every corner of Europe."
More information http://www.nuj.org.uk/innerPagenuj.html?docid=1796
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in
For more information contact the EFJ at
+32 2 235.2200