Section Agence France-Presse du Syndicat national des journalistes
Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National Journalists' Union (SNJ)
News & Views
VOTING FOR AFP STAFF REPRESENTATIVES HAS BEGUN : VOTE FOR THE SNJ
The 2009 elections of staff representatives are crucial for the survival of Agence France-Presse, whose staff, mission and raison d’etre are now under threat. The dangers are legion: the agency’s founding statutes are up for revision, its workforce faces cuts, it may be forced to move to a new headquarters, its journalists risk ending up as automatons who collect and edit text, pictures and video all at once, or "content aggregators," or even purveyors of "relaxation" (relax with AFP !!!).
Our working conditions and our standards of living are under attack. Our very profession is under threat. And the irony is that the attacks on the nature of our work — which is gathering and disseminating information — are being carried out in the name of the unavoidable technological evolution that AFP unions were themselves the first to call for.
To parry these threats, AFP journalists must carefully pick their representatives on the works committee and their staff delegates (délégués du personnel). The SNJ is the choice of all those who want to give AFP a bright future and to maintain the dignity of our profession.
The SNJ is the biggest union in the profession as well as the biggest union in AFP. It has worked hard for you over the years, defending your interests, as it did recently when it emerged that that AFP’s new contract with the state (the COM, or Aims and Means Contract) would mean a reduction in staff numbers. AFP chairman Pierre Louette has yet to provide satisfactory information on how he plans to reduce the number of journalists, or on how exactly he plans to reorganise the agency to become a truly multi-media organsiation without letting the quality of our journalism suffer. Nor have we had a satisfactory explanation as to why he wants to make the agency a limited liability company (société anonyme).
By voting SNJ you will be voting for a union that will resist management’s attempts to force journalists to produce ever more with ever fewer resources. The SNJ has worked tirelessly over the years to safeguard jobs at AFP and to win more rights for journalists on short-term contracts.
The SNJ will not stoop to cheap shock tactics to achieve what we see as just demands. But neither will we agree to change for the sake of change, especially if it leads to an unravelling of all our hard-won achievements in terms of journalists’ rights.
The chairman wants to transform AFP into a Foundation and/or a limited company, in order to diversify the sources of our finances? We will examine that proposal with equanimity. The chairman wants to modernise the 1957 statues upon which our agency was founded? Is that a wise move in these uncertain times? Whatever happens, the SNJ is committed to keeping article 2 unchanged. This article states that AFP’s aim is to provide its clients in France and abroad "exact, impartial and trustworthy information."
The SNJ has over the years been active on all fronts when it comes to defending the rights of AFP journalists to carry out their work in a dignified manner. We intend to continue that work.
The SNJ is made up of journalists from all services and from bureaux around the world, who put their professional independence above all other considerations. The team that you vote for will stand by your side to fight all attempts to harm our agency.
By defending the interests of the agency, the SNJ team, like all journalists in AFP, will be defending the right to impartial information which is a cornerstone of democracy.
From now until 9 April, vote for the SNJ
Staff Delegates (délégués du personnel)
Main candidates / Alternates
1- Sophie Lautier, General news service ; Eloi Rouyer, Marseilles bureau
Works Committee Delegates (Délégués au comité d’entreprise)
Main candidates / Alternates
1 - Matthieu Demeestere, General news service ; Régine Lamothe-Harry, Politics service
The SNJ, your union: www.snj-afp.org firstname.lastname@example.org
11 March 2009