As the global financial crisis has thrown companies into turmoil, it is workers who are bearing the heaviest burden of instability and recession, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said today as it marked the World Day for Decent Work.
Tens of thousands of workers in the financial services sector and millions more across the global economy face unemployment and a bleak future and in journalism and media the story is equally chilling.
In journalism employment conditions have been in decline for years as media owners have cut deep into labour rights and security of employment in order to protect high profit margins in a changing market. Thousands of journalists around the world have been thrust into forced freelance work as jobs in journalism have become increasingly precarious, says the IFJ.
"Even before the financial market collapse, the global media industry was in trouble and we have seen again and again a lowering of workplace standards in media causing insecurity and collapsing standards of journalism, said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The threat to journalists' jobs is not just about personal circumstances for workers and their families; it is also about protecting the quality of democracy we enjoy which is why we are supporting the World Day for Decent Work."
The World Day for Decent Work, October 7, is a day of action supported by the worldwide Global Union movement and involves unions in more than 100 countries around the globe from Fiji to Alaska. Unions are demanding urgent changes in the world economy.
The IFJ fears the world financial crisis will only lead to more forced freelances and job cuts at newsrooms as a focus on the bottom line and shareholder value has replaced the tradition public service values of media companies.
"We believe that the answers to these problems are not a wholesale race to the bottom on working conditions but in just the opposite," White said. "By improving working conditions for journalists, media companies can improve their products and use that to drive revenue growth. Only by working with journalists and treating them fairly will the owners climb out of the hole in which the industry finds itself."
For more information on the World Day for Decent Work go to www.wddw.org
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide