Section Agence France-Presse du Syndicat national des journalistes
Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National Journalists' Union (SNJ)
News & Views
Thank You For Voting : New Gains For The SNJ At AFP’s Staff Elections
The SNJ remains the number one union of journalists at Agence France-Presse, after the 2009 staff elections. The poll’s results, announced April 9, demonstrate the union’s representativity and show that a majority of journalists working at AFP share its views.
Not only did the SNJ maintain its number of elected delegates (for the Works Committee as well as the Staff delegates), but it also sharply increased its number of votes. Many thanks to all voters, whose action has ensured that firmly mandated SNJ delegates have the democratic legitimacy to make their voices heard and fight for all AFP journalists’ rights.
The SNJ is also delighted by the sharp increase of turnout among journalists (the rate went above 60 percent, compared to around 56 percent in the previous polls, in 2005 and 2007). These figures show that AFP’s journalists are deeply concerned by the future of their Agency and want to take an active part.
The number of votes for the SNJ lists increased from 151 to 172 for the staff delegates (and from 142 to 170 for their alternate deputy candidates), and from 137 to 156 for the works committee delegates (and rose to 164 compared to 136 for deputies).
These gains prove also that a majority inside the newsroom doesn’t want to adopt dogmatic and hardline views regarding the issues facing AFP.
A phase that will be decisive for AFP’s future begins in the next few weeks. SNJ delegates know that, by choosing them, you have put in their hands an enormous responsibility. They are ready to consider proposals to modify the agency’s statutes, so that AFP evolves towards a more multimedia-oriented agency, but they will never negotiate a privatization nor a state-controlled statute. They will continue to reject the purely financial logic of producing ever more, with an ever shrinking workforce. They also reject the hiring freeze, which forces ever more journalists on short-term contracts to wait longer and longer for permanent positions, creating therefore a "two-tier" Agency. The reality is even harsher for stringers, who are currently victims of cost-cutting measures, and for local journalists who are still waiting for a regional statute that would provide them with a comprehensive and secure health care and retirement system.
AFP’s management must now reveal its long-term strategy to develop new products and technological systems. And it must give details of the terms of the potential voluntary redundancy scheme evoked by the CEO.
Your new SNJ delegates pledge to all staff members, journalists and non-journalists, that they will work tirelessly for getting the utmost consultation and transparency in this phase of vital change, to safeguard the independence and the development of a truly global news agency, as our AFP shall remain, and especially vigorously to protect our editorial ethics and a special statute for AFP, in the spirit, if not in the form, of the 1957 "independence statute."
This statute, contrary to what has sometimes been claimed at the highest level of the company, did not prevent the Agency from producing more, more varied, and better, in the last 53 years. That being said, staff have attained these goals with the same head count as in the 1950s, and also by working for wages from the previous century.
The management can’t continue to use the statute’s reform and the 4XML multimedia agency project as an excuse not to take on short term journalists in permanent posts, to try to produce ever more with ever less people, and to freeze our wages.
Your SNJ elected delegates thank you!
27 April 2009