IFJ Backs Greek Media Strike Over “Provocative Pay Offer”

The International Federation of Journalists, and its regional organisation the European Federation of Journalists today backed a 24-hour strike called for this Monday and accused newspaper employers of an unreasonable, confrontational and provocative attitude to national pay talks.

The strike by the IFJ and EFJ affiliates, the Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers, the Union of Periodical and Electronic Press and the Journalists’ Union of the Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers, along with other six unions representing media workers comes in response to the deadlock in pay negotiations by the employers and a refusal to move on an offer that effectively reduces the buying power of journalists wages.

“It is shocking whenever negotiations lead to a confrontation that stops newspapers from publishing,” said Aidan White, IFJ and EFJ General Secretary. “But the blame of this stoppage rests with the employers who appear determined not to negotiate reasonably”.

A spokesman from the Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers said, “the offer is so low that it reduces the buying power of journalists wages and is completely unacceptable”. The strike is a 24-hour warning action that could lead to further confrontation.

“Employers should invest in decent working conditions and fair salaries for their journalists and other staff,” said White. “But in this case they have adopted an unreasonable, confrontational and provocative attitude that will only have a negative impact on the industrial relations scene in Greek media.” “This is the time to take the heat out of the situation and there should be urgent negotiations to reach a fair settlement”.

Earlier this year, the IFJ and the EFJ intervened to support the Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspaper in a fight with a major Athens publisher and has supported journalists in Greece opposing job cuts and closures.

The IFJ, which held its 25 World Congress in Athens in May, says that the difficulties between the workforce and media management in Greece are symptomatic of weakness in the social dialogue between unions and employers.

“Free and fair negotiations are always the way to solve industrial difficulties,” said White. “Now is the time to get back to the negotiating table”.

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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries