NUJ backs AFP workers' stoppage
18 October 2018
The NUJ’s general secretary has conveyed solidarity and support to all the trade unionists at Agence France-Presse (AFP) in their fight against 150 job cuts being imposed by the board of governors.
Michelle Stanistreet said:
"You have the full backing of NUJ members across the UK and Ireland in the stoppage planned. The defence of properly-resourced public interest journalism is a vital one, and one that the NUJ whole-heartedly supports."
An AFP union rep said the trade unions representing all categories of agency employees, including Confédération générale du travail (CGT) The General Confederation of Labour; Syndicat National des Journalistes (SNJ) the National Journalists’ Syndicate; Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT) French Democratic Confederation of Labour; La Force Syndicale (FO), Workers' Force; Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD) Solidarity, Unity, Democracy; and the Confédération Française de l'Encadrement – Confédération Générale des Cadres (CFE-CGC), French Confederation of Management – General Confederation of Executives were opposed to the plan to cut 125 jobs over the next five years proposed by the head of AFP, Fabrice Fries, on 4 October, The rep said the plan posed a serious risk to the agency’s public interest mission.
The union has called on all the agency’s employees to join a three-hour work stoppage in France on all wires today (18 October), when the Fries plan is put to the works committee meeting. Staff will hold their own meeting afterwards.
The cuts would be achieved by not replacing 160 staff expected to retire in the next five years, but 35 new positions would also be created, Fries said. The measure was necessary to stabilise the agency's finances, he added. AFP management says if it does not rein in costs, the agency's operating deficit will swell to €90million (£79m) in the next five years.
The trade unions will also seek a meeting with government and parliament representatives to discuss the commitment of the French state to AFP, while respecting its independence.