Argentina: National Mobilization of Press Workers

“This year, on the Journalist Day, we want no greetings: We want to work”. Under this slogan, press workers mobilized in Buenos Aires City, from the Obelisk to the Ministry of Labour. Workers denounced more than 2,000 dismissals in the past few months.

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According to the information released by the National Bureau of Press Workers, which brings together the most important associations of Journalists in the country, more than 2,000 posts were lost in this sector.

In addition, they remarked that the last Joint Negotiating signed by the “Union of Press Workers of Buenos Aires” (UTPBA) and the Newspaper Publishers Association of Buenos Aires —which brings together the most important newspapers of the country, as Pagina/12, La Nación and Clarin— reduced the request of workers from a 40% wage increase to less than 25%. As many analysts state, prices in Argentina are estimated to have risen by 35%.

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“In this context of ongoing attacks to Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and also to the free and independent performance of our duties as Journalists, layoffs, job insecurity, as well as the rising resistance of workers, we want to wish all of our comrades a Happy Journalist Day! Specially, to our colleagues who are fighting in defense of their jobs, working conditions and salaries”, these are the first words in the Statement released by the Press Workers’ Union (SIPREBA).

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Mobilization to the Ministry of Labour

The aim of the mobilization was to demand a proper wage negotiation process, the cessation of layoffs, the ending of job insecurity and to claim that the minimum wage should not be below the Family Basket. They protested in defense of Freedom of Speech, the compliance of agreements made with companies and the State, the ending of persecution due to political activism, the elimination of wage taxes and the immediate annulment of the Anti-protest Protocol.

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Interview with Tomás Eliaschev, General Secretary of Human Rights (SIPREBA) 

-What is the current situation of media workers?

“The situation is deeply troubling, we have information that, only in Buenos Aires, at least 1,000 colleagues have lost their jobs. And across the country the figures rises to about 2,000 professionals who are thrown out into the streets: this can be either because of compulsive layoffs or the so-called “voluntary retirements”. Again, the situation is deeply troubling, we have nothing but bad news in the Journalist Day.”

-Is this why your are mobilizing on June 8?

“The only good news is that press workers across the country have managed to organize themselves and have formed a “National Coordination” that will be mobilizing next Wednesday [June, 8]. It will be a very important mobilization: it was high time that press workers made themselves heard. We want to make it clear: we do not represent our employers nor the companies in which we work, we are only press workers!”

-The Slogan of the mobilization is “We want no greetings: We want to work”

We were the first Union to take to the streets this summer in a very complex situation: the emptying of the “Grupo 23”. But also because of the struggle of our comrades of newspaper Tiempo Argentino and Radio America, who are still fighting for their jobs. Mauricio Macri ‘s government turned a blind eye to our fundamental rights, it has not paid attention to our situation. Behind each dismissed worker there is a family. We have taken to the streets, we have sought all ways to make ourselves heard and so far, unfortunately, the authorities haven’t taken any action in this regard.

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By Mauricio Polchi / Photos by Malena Quinteros and Micaela Ryan / Source: Marcha.org / The Dawn News / June 8, 2016.