World Day for Decent Work: Media Companies Must Work with Journalists to Improve Conditions

Media workers across the world continue to bear the heavy burden of instability and poor working conditions, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has stated today as it marks the World Day for Decent Work.

Amid the deepening crisis in the journalism profession, employment conditions continue to worsen as media owners cut into labour rights and employment security in order to protect profit margins in a changing market, says the IFJ.

Basic rights to union representation and collective bargaining are under threat in many countries and under direct attack in others. Employers are even trying to undermine the right to strike, by challenging decades of legal recognition for this most fundamental right at the ILO.

Thousands of journalists around the world have found themselves thrust into freelance work as jobs in journalism have become increasingly precarious.

“We continue to see a lowering of standards in the media workplace, leading to lower wages, poor contracts and insecurity,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa. "This deeply concerning development affects journalists and their families, but also the whole of society and their right to access balanced, open information.This is why the Global Day for Decent Work is so crucial.”

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. Unions are demanding that politicians and businesses are held to account, and demanding that the failing economic system is transformed.

But there are signs of positive action. IFJ projects in regions such as the Arab World and Middle East, eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific are working to improve the strength and capacity of journalist unions to negotiate collective agreements between companies and media workers and are encouraging journalists to unite in support of their unions.

The IFJ has today also welcomed a study by its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), which highlights the idea that ‘‘Journalists’ and their organisations must be the driving force for the future of journalism.’’ The study on Confronting Austerity: Financial and Employment Models in Journalism was the result of a one-year project carried out by the EFJ to find out how journalists and their organisations can confront the crisis and respond to/take advantage of the rapidly changing media landscape. Read more about the study HERE.

The IFJ believes the findings of the report and the committed work of it unions worldwide prove the resilience of the journalism profession and has called on media companies to continue to work with journalists to improve working conditions.

"By improving working conditions for journalists, media companies can improve their products and create growth,” added Costa. “Only by working with journalists and treating them fairly will the owners deal with the desperate situation in which they find themselves."  

For more information on the World Day for Decent Work go to http://2014.wddw.org/