European Journalists Back Strike by Media Workers and Journalists in Italy

The European Federation of Journalists today called on its membership of more than 200,000 editorial staff across Europe to support a general strike organised by the three major trade union organisations of Italy, including the Italian journalists' union, the FNSI.

In a climate of increasing social tension in which the media has become a battleground, the Federazione Nationale della Stampa Italiana, a member of the EFJ and International Federation of Journalists, called on all its members in daily newspapers, magazines, national agencies, including freelance journalists, to stop work on Monday, April 15. This will prevent the publication of newspapers on April 16 - the day when journalists and all other media staff working for public and private broadcasting stations at national and local level will join a nationwide stoppage by trades unionists.

The unions are demanding that the government radically changes its proposal for Article 18 of the labour law by which employers will be allowed to dismiss workers without justified reason. Part-time contract work will be hardly possible and the introduction of work call-centers would lead to a total deregulation of the media sector. The journalists plan to continue their protests until the draft is changed.

"The decision by journalists to strike is never easy," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the EFJ, "but in the face of a profound crisis in Italy's media landscape, including attacks on editorial independence, accompanied by an unprecedented assault on the basic rights of Italy's workers, this strike is unavoidable and comes at the right moment."

The European Federation of Journalists says that the strike reflects a mood of resistance among journalists and media staff throughout European media over worsening industrial relations, dismissals and low pay. "Italy is trying to set new standards that will downgrade workers rights and worsen conditions for all media staff," said Gustl Glattfelder, chair of the EFJ. "It is a worst-case scenario which can and must be prevented."