The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on media companies to work with journalists to improve their work conditions. It 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 IFJ made the call on October 7, 2014 to mark the occasion of the World Day for Decent Work.
IFJ noted that media workers across the world continue to bear the brunt of instability and poor work conditions and that 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.
The group expressed concerns that basic rights to union representation and collective bargaining are under threat in many countries and under direct attack in others. It added that employers are even trying to undermine the right to strike, by challenging decades of legal recognition for this most fundamental right at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
As a result of the instability and poor work condition, thousands of journalists around the world have found themselves thrust into freelance work as jobs in journalism have become increasingly precarious.
IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa said: “We continue to see a lowering of standards in the media workplace, leading to lower wages, poor contracts and insecurity. 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.”
All is not gloom as IFJ sees signs of positive action in some regions including Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific which 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 also welcomed a study conducted 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 EFJ carried outa one-year project to find out how journalists and their organisations can confront the crisis and respond to/take advantage of the rapidly changing media landscape. The study is titled‘Confronting Austerity: Financial and Employment Models in Journalism’.
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.
Costa said: “By improving working conditions for journalists, media companies can improve their products and create growth,” adding “Only by working with journalists and treating them fairly will the owners deal with the desperate situation in which they find themselves.”
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) organises the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) on 7 October each year. Started in 2008, it is a day set aside for mobilisation for all trade unions across the globe when the ITUC gets workers from over a hundred countries to carry out different activities. This year, the focus was on the link between social justice, union work and climate change.