News / 06.05.2013

Journalists’ Union issues strike warning

The Council of UJF reached a unanimous decision in Helsinki on Friday to embark on an industrial action after the five-week long negotiations between representatives of journalists and the Federation of the Finnish Media Industry (VKL) failed to produce an agreement.

Beginning at 14:00 on Friday May 17 all members of the journalists’ union who will participate in the strike include editorial assistants and people in supervisory role. There is not time on how long the strike would last.

“The dimension is quite substantial when nearly half of the 5000 union members working with print media decide to embark on strike. This is a direct result of the behaviour of employers in the negotiations. We sincerely hope, from deep down our heart, that this perspective will change the attitude of the other side and we get to agree on the conditions of work without resorting to an industrial action”, said UJF President Arto Nieminen.

“We have not demanded anymore salary increase than what has been agreed with workers serving with other employers in similar situations. We were offered a lousy 0.5 per cent increase for the ten months duration of the agreement and immediately following that, we would have been required to still increase the working hours. The message from the field was loud and clear – this is not going to work”, says Nieminen.

All daily and six-day a week newspapers will be affected, including some small publications, several regional newspapers, news and photo agency STT-Kuvalehti, and local newspapers. Also affected will be online publications of the newspapers and their joint editorial offices. The biggest part of the intended strike action will affect newspapers owned by the large media concerns.

In addition the strike would also extend to journalists in newspapers producing television news, especially channel Four News whose negotiations are also in a stalemate, similar to the print journalists

In general small local newspapers with less than ten union members as well as weekly magazines will not be affected by the strike. Also political party newspapers and publication of religious organisations will not be affected.

In addition to the strike warning and the banning of overtime work, the Council has mandated the board of government UFJ to extend the industrial action if the need arises.

The Union of Journalists has gone on strike only three times in its entire 92 year history. A strike action in 1972 lasted ten days while another one in 1980 lasted three weeks. A third strike in 1988 disrupted television broadcasts for three weeks.

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