The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined Brazilian journalists union, FENAJ and dozens of media workers organisations in condemning the dismissal of a leading national and international trade unionist.
Celso Augusto Schröder – President of the IFJ’s regional body, FEPALC and a former IFJ Vice-President and FENAJ President - was fired by Correio do Povo newspaper, where he had worked for 30 years.
The IFJ backed widespread calls for his immediate reinstatement.
Currently director of Institutional Relations at the company and a member of the Social Communication Council of the National Congress Schröder was dismissed following the receipt of a telegram from the paper’s Editorial Director.
For half of the three decades in which he was an employee of the company, the former president of FENAJ was prevented from undertaking his professional role at the company - having been released to carry out the trade union duties he had been elected by his peers to exercise.
The company had recently been forced to allow him to return to his professional role with the company.
The dismissal of journalists is a standard practice in the company. FENAJ has already denounced lay-offs in the group’s TV operations which left the operation with inadequate staffing levels.
In a statement, FENAJ - backed by 31 regional, national and international journalists’ organisations - said the dismissal of a trade union leader of acknowledged international and scholarly renown, confirmed the company’s disdain for trade union autonomy and opened up a form of violence not only against Schröder, but against all journalists whose leaders should have the right to freely exercise their role to represent and defend their members inside and outside the company.
FENAJ said: “The aggression against the representative bodies of journalists and political persecution of union leaders are not isolated facts. More than a new case of anti-union practice against union leaders in the exercise of their mandate, Celso Schröder's dismissal is part of a context of attacks on democracy, the rights and free organization of the working class, which must be denounced and opposed not only by all journalists but the whole of society.
“FENAJ, the 31 trade unions of affiliated journalists and the international organisations, vehemently repudiate the dismissal of our former president and serve notice that they will take all reasonable steps to return to Celso Augusto Schröder the right to represent and defend journalists with freedom and autonomy, as required by the law but denied by the newspaper Correio do Povo”.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “This dismissal is an outrage. It flies in the face of the democratic rights enshrined in law and seeks to undermine the union’s ability to represent and defend its’ members. The international journalists’ organisations will not allow that to happen, will campaign alongside FENAJ to demand Celso’s reinstatement and to help strengthen the union at Correio do Povo and throughout Brazil to resist these attacks on workers’ democratic and labour rights”.