The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on its network of more than 100 unions and associations around the world to give their backing to a nationwide series of unified protests in India on Thursday.
The country’s three major journalists groups – the Indian Journalists’ Union, the National Union of Journalists, India and the All India Newspaper Employees Federation – have formed a confederation to demand that the government makes good on promises to relaunch the country’s unique wage board system, which provides a nationally negotiated agreement on wages and working conditions for the country’s media staff.
Demonstrations and protests co-ordinated by the confederation will take place in major cities across India to press for the demand in the face of the rapid growth of personal contracts, which are being used by media employers to weaken journalists’ rights at work.
“For three years the government has neglected to tackle a growing media employment crisis,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Media force employees to accept vulnerable labour conditions with ‘take it or leave it’ contracts and in the process they are denying international labour standards and sending standards of journalism into freefall.”
Although the Labour Minister has recently indicated the government is at last ready to act to revive the national bargaining structure to improve working conditions across the country’s media, there have been many false dawns over the past years.
“The impatience of unions is understandable given the history of broken promises,” said White. “We are fully backing the union effort to restore some sanity to a chaotic media jobs market that has seen a scandalous fall in working conditions and union rights.”
Two months ago the IFJ wrote to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling on the government to prepare a strategic plan for the development of India’s media.
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide