Labour Rights and Social Dialogue
The struggle to deal with the downside of globalisation and the impact of rapid technological changes is a challenge to journalists unions everywhere. Media staff, like the workforce in every other sector of the world economy, are under pressure from voracious employers who are cutting editorial budgets, slashing jobs and undermining trade union organisation.
In Europe, the story is the same, but here there are different and distinct characteristics of the struggle. In the post-war period Europe embraced a set of market values that defined a particular model of democracy, based upon social and cultural imperatives. These were designed to minimise social conflict, to strengthen public engagement in democratic institutions, to set minimum standards of welfare, and to provide the public with guaranteed and universal access to essential services covering utilities, health, education and information.
The Labour Rights Expert Group, which focuses on Europe, but has lessons for journalists the world over, deals with trade union rights, cross-national assistance and industrial relations at European level in order to preserve the social model where existing and to promote it in Central and Eastern Europe and other places where it is not functioning.
The EFJ has published a Best Practice Study on working time and a second one on working conditions for journalists in the newspaper sector, which are both available on the EFJ member section only and from the EFJ secretariat. The Expert Group supports member organisations specifically in candidate countries in their efforts to create strong trade unions and to negotiate collective agreements.
Bilateral assistance between specifically the Nordic countries and Germany with Central and Eastern Europe has become a very important part of solidarity. The EFJ is promoting European Works Councils in the media sector and is particularly concerned about the widest possible participation of colleagues working for subsidiaries of media companies in Central and Eastern Europe.
EFJ in April 2012 held a conference on Equal Rights for Journalists and published the analysis of case studies of various countries with the aim to spread knowledge and share best practises understanding how journalists' unions are standing up for members' rights.
Similarly, in 2012 EFJ together with EURO-MEI carried out a mapping survey of the media and journalism industry. Analysing the changes in employment and how these changes affect trade union work, two case studies, France and the UK, were assessed in detail. The summary in French and English can be found here and the entire survey (in English) here.
Furthermore is EFJ currently in the process of setting up a database on Standards in Collective Agreements across Europe.
Matthias von Fintel (Co-Chair), DJU in ver.di, Germany
Yannis Kotsifos (Co-Chair), ESIEMTH, Greence
Rainer Reichert, DJV, Germany
Erkan Ipekci, TGS, Turkey
Marijan Belcic, TUCJ, Croatia
Seamus Dooley, NUJ, Ireland
Anabela Fino, SDJ, Portugal
Pinar Merinc, TGS, Turkey
Zoe Telegraphou, UCJ, Cyprus
Silvia Tubio, CCOO, Spain
Dominique Diserens, Impressum, Switzerland
Franco Siddi, FNSI, Italy