Section Agence France-Presse du Syndicat national des journalistes
Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National Journalists' Union (SNJ)
News & Views
Shut AFP Down on November 4: Call for Vote on Strike Motion
Call for a complete strike of all AFP services worldwide on Tuesday, November 4
The agency-wide consultation launched last week by the joint CFDT-FO-SNJ-SUD trade union committee, following a vote in which the union reps to the AFP works committee (comité d’entreprise) rejected both management’s proposed Means and Objectives Contract (COM) with the state and the sale via a leasing arrangement of the AFP headquarters building, produced the following results:
335 people, or 92 percent of those who voted, approved the motion, five were against and 22 abstained.
The motion thus approved by staff was as follows:
"The elected staff representatives denounce and reject the plan for a Means and Objectives Contract submitted by management, seeing it as a blatant austerity move based on principles of downsizing and the contracting-out of the agency’s core missions, and liable to lead to a lay-off plan which dares not speak its name.
"The elected staff representatives refuse the plan to sell AFP’s historic headquarters building, whatever form such a sale may take."
Following that vote, it is now up to AFP’s staff to clearly let both management and the board know that we refuse both the Means and Objectives Contract and the financial expedient — the sale of the building — on which it is based.
For that reason, the joint unions call on all staff, whatever their job category, both at headquarters and elsewhere in the world, to mobilize to shut AFP down completely on November 4.
The unions therefore call on staff to vote in a secret ballot to answer the following question:
"Do you approve the principle of shutting AFP down in a 24-hour, agency-wide, world-wide strike of services in all languages beginning at 0100 GMT (midnight Paris time) on Tuesday November 4 in order to demand the withdrawal of both the Means and Objectives Contract (COM) and of the sale of the headquarters building via a lease-back arrangement?
YES - NO - ABSTENTION
For staff at AFP headquarters voting is taking place from today Thursday October 23 to Monday November 3 at midday. A ballot box is available in the first-floor works committee room (near the cafeteria) every day from 11 am to 5 pm. A complete list of staff is also available for people to sign, thereby signifying that they have voted.
Night-shift teams will be able to vote on Tuesday October 28 and Thursday October 30 from 10 pm to midnight.
Polling should be organized in all other bureaus around the world, using a ballot box and providing for a secret ballot. Results should be sent via e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-mail voting is to remain open in the bureaus for the same period as for the vote at headquarters. To ensure that people in isolated facilities can preserve the secrecy of their vote, they may cast their vote via a designated proxy in the nearest regional centre.
As regards local-status staff, the joint union committee has asked management to provide a full list of names in order to allow them to also cast their votes.
Such staff are likely to be the people first hit by the cost-cutting measures called for by the COM and aimed at slashing AFP’s wages bill, notably via the elimination of jobs. They should therefore be allowed to vote, but that of course implies that they are able to do so without being subjected to any form of pressure.
Joint CFDT-FO-SNJ-SUD Union Committee
23 October 2003