Western Balkans: Building collective strength in journalists' unions

Representatives from journalists unions in Ukraine and the Western Balkans met on 10 November to discuss union building and to share experiences about the challenges they face.

Leaders of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, the Journalists Union of Serbia, the Trade Union Media of Montenegro SMGG and the Trade Union of Macedonian Journalists and Media Workers met online to discuss the lessons learned in building stronger unions and addressing the challenges facing journalists. 

The meeting took place as part of the IFJ's Union-to-Union (UtU) funded project which has been crucial in supporting unions in building their capacity and membership, particularly among younger and digital media workers.

The impacts of the project include :

  • The doubling of union membership in Montenegro in 5 years
  • Union involvement in shaping new media laws in Serbia
  • The increased involvement of young members in all the unions
  • Effective campaigns around labour rights in North Macedonia and Ukraine
  • Raising the visibility of unions through podcasts and new publications
  • Improving services to members through the use of new technology in Ukraine

Participants stressed the importance of the UTU project in their work which has also enabled them to carry out surveys and research throughout the project period that has helped them reshape their unions priorities and react effectively to issues such as the impact of Covid 19 on the media sector, the rights of freelance journalists, access to health insurance among others.

Among the key challenges highlighted were bringing younger members in to union activity, political instability across the region, the war in Ukraine and the impact of Covid.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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