13 January 2004
Journalists Protest to European Publishers Over “Devastating” Attack on Social Rights in Germany
A protest by journalists’ groups within the European Federation of Journalists today warned that a plan by German publishers to weaken the national working arrangements for German daily newspaper journalists amounted to “a devastating attack on the social and professional fabric of German journalism”.
Following a demonstration outside the Brussels offices of the European Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents newspaper owners throughout the continent, the EFJ presented a letter calling upon the ENPA to oppose the hard line being taken by German publishers who have refused to budge in their demands for increases in working hours and cuts in holiday time and holiday pay along with reductions in the payment structure.
“The German publishers are looking for wage cuts and increase in working time that will destroy the balance of protection that has existed for decades,” said Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary. “If they are successful it could have a knock-on effect throughout Europe and that is why this is a European-wide battle.”
The demonstration and protest took place as BDZV, the German Association of Newspaper Publishers, and the unions representing journalists – the Deutscher Journalisten Verband and Verdi – met in Frankfurt with newspaper owners to try to break the deadlock in talks over a new agreement for the daily newspaper sector.
Around 12 warning strikes involving more than 2000 journalists have already taken place around the country. The unions warn that a failure to reach an agreement will almost certainly lead to an escalation in the industrial action.
“The situation is now at a critical and defining moment,” said Aidan White. “Newspaper owners are in danger of plunging the newspaper industry into a confrontation that will make the current difficult economic circumstances far worse. They must change their unreasonable stance and negotiate fairly.”
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The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in more than 30 countries