European Journalists Hail 'Historic Breakthrough' in East Europe Wage Talks

The European Federation of Journalists today hailed an agreement between media employers and journalists in Croatia as a "historic breakthrough that opens the door to a new era of industrial relations in the region." The collective agreement signed between the management of the daily news paper Jutarnji list, part of Europa Press Holding, Croatia's biggest media employer and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ) includes a comprehensive framework for social improvements, including holidays, social rights and salaries.

Europa Press Holding is a subsidiary to the German WAZ group and this is the first major agreement that crosses the borders, taking into Eastern Europe some of the social standards well established in most EU countries.

"This breakthrough give hopes to thousands of journalists and media workers of the region that there is a possibility to negotiate a way out of the low-pay, socially unjust ghetto in which most of our Eastern European colleagues find themselves" said Aidan White, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists, which encouraged contacts between the Croatian journalists and their German colleagues leading up to the signing of the agreement.

The agreement guarantees a 40-hour week with additional health and social security provisions and a number of other improvements in working conditions.

"This builds upon earlier successes including the first collective agreement signed in 1996", said Marinka Borkovic, General Secretary of the TUCJ. "This latest breakthrough owes much to the solidarity of German colleagues for which we are very grateful".