EFJ AGM 2000: 6. Discrimination at Work: Demand for European-wide Standards of Working Conditions

European Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Adopted by the EFJ AGM held in Nuremberg, Germany, May 26-28, 2000

6. Discrimination at Work: Demand for European-wide Standards of Working Conditions
From the EFJ

The Annual General Meeting of the EFJ notes that a number of major media companies from Western and Northern Europe have established ownership and control of significant media outlets in the countries of central and eastern Europe.

In particular, the EFJ notes the presence of major publishing groups from Norway, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and especially Germany, in the newspaper markets of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

While the EFJ recognises the importance of inward investment in stimulating markets and in creating the conditions for pluralist and professional media systems in this region, we deplore the growing evidence of discrimination against the journalists and other employees of subsidiary companies in these countries who are poorly paid and endure working conditions that often do not meet basic European social standards.

The EFJ believes that this process is dangerous and threatens social cohesion throughout Europe.

To combat this the EFJ calls for the application of uniform European standards of employment and working conditions throughout transnational media outlets.

These standards should be determined according to the highest levels that apply within a single media company and must, under no circumstances, fall below social minimums that are recognised by the European Trade Union Confederation and social partners within the European Union.

The EFJ further condemns the denial of trade union recognition and bargaining rights to union representatives in many of the central and eastern European countries covered by these transnational enterprises.

All media organisations must respect the rights of the workforce to freedom of association and freedom of collective bargaining as set out in Conventions 89 and 98 of the International Labour Office and embodied in the social charter of the European Union.

In addition, the EFJ insists that the rights of consultation and rights to information as secured through systems of enterprise works councils in Europe must be extended to all employees of a media organisation in any country in which the company operates.

The EFJ calls for an end to this process of discrimination and unfairness and calls upon the European Newspaper Publishers Association to take immediate action to ensure its members respect regional and international social standards.

The EFJ further instructs its industrial expert groups to consider these problems and to suggest strategies and activities that will help unions in central and eastern Europe to challenge and eliminate these forms of discrimination.

In particular, the EFJ shall support initiatives by supporting joint actions by member unions in Europe to strengthen trade union organisation throughout the region.

The EFJ will give priority to promotion of solidarity activities in those countries currently being considered for accession to the European Union.