To mark World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) on 7 October the International Federation of journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organisation of journalists, is joining the International Trade Union Confederation’s call for wage justice. The IFJ demands media organisations restore decent wages in journalism and stop anti-union practices.
Across the world the federation has witnessed a deteriorating situation for journalists and media workers with the weakening of labour laws, a growing insecurity in the workplace, more precarious working conditions and the undermining of rights to bargain collectively as a result of many media organisations’ anti-Union strategies.
The covid pandemic badly hit the media industry with many publications, programmes and online media closing down, leaving thousands of journalists unemployed.
Today’s world of skyrocketing inflation rates has severely impacted journalists’ incomes, forcing many to strike in protest at the failure of media employers to increase salaries.
In some part of the world journalists even struggle to receive their monthly pay, some of them having to rely on “brown envelopes” to make a living, thus jeopardizing media independence.
In many regions unions’ activities have been forcibly limited, most dramatically illustrated by the state liquidation of journalists unions such as in Belarus or Russia, or union leaders’ arrests as recently in Hong Kong.
Despite the threats and challenges, many unions have responded by growing membership, winning negotiating rights and securing improved pay and rights.
IFJ President Dominique Pradalie said: “We need fair labour laws and wage justice, respect for workers’ fundamental rights, the end of discrimination among media workers and decent working conditions for all. World Day for Decent Work is an opportunity for unions to remind governments of their obligations towards workers and the International Labor Organisation’s conventions they are bound by, including equal pay and the right to organise collectively. There can be no free and independent media where journalists live in poverty and without security and rights“.