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After Staff Vote, AFP Unions Call 24-Hour Strike Over Planned Editorial Changes

Wednesday 13 February 2013

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The joint trade unions representing all headquarters-status staff at AFP (CGT-CFDT-FO-SNJ-SUD-CFE/CGC) call on all employees working in France, and all HQ-status staff working in Africa, to observe a 24-hour work stoppage from 8:00 am Paris time (0700 GMT) on Wednesday February 13th.

The unions note that:

  • The strike call, issued by all the representative unions at AFP, is fully legitimate;
  • During a staff general assembly on Monday, more than 150 staff approved the strike call, with only one vote against.
  • A further vote held by e-mail attracted 279 votes in all, of which 240 were in favour, 35 against and four abstained.

The Strike Demands:

  1. Withdrawal of the plan for a new "France Region", as demanded in a motion submitted by the unions and the elected works committee members on January 24;
  2. Africa: Cancellation of plans for a regional Africa office in Johannesburg; preservation of an independent francophone Africa desk in Paris, with full staffing; immediate posting of the job of head of the Africa desk; staffing increase for the English desk journalists working on Africa; a full report on the effects of the decision to bring north African bureaus under the authority of Nicosia rather than Paris;
  3. The unions to be once again given the tools we need to communicate with staff.

Strike Arrangements

The joint unions remind staff that the right to strike is guaranteed by the French constitution. The union appeal covers all staff who decide to take part in the strike in France, and all staff employed in Africa on French-status labour contracts.

Among other staff categories, the strike call concerns AFP editorial services. We call on desks operating in Paris to REFUSE TO VALIDATE all wire stories, pictures, videos and graphics, with the exception of alerts and urgents.

The strike is to begin at 8:00 am Paris time (0700 GMT) on Wednesday February 13, and to end at 8:00 am Paris (0700 GMT) on Thursday February 14.

AFP management has decided to seek a trial of strength over these issues; it is therefore responsible for the consequences. The joint unions, which are ready to meet with management at any time, will inform staff of the situation at a new general assembly which will also decide whether further action is called for.

Barring new developments in the meantime, the general assembly will take place on Thursday February 14th at 2:30 pm (1330 GMT) on the first floor of the rue Vivienne premises in Paris.

This Action Concerns Everyone!

The joint unions wish to stress the seriousness of the situation. All staff - journalists, white-collar employees and technicians - are faced with a management which rides roughshod over our interests and gets its way by ramming through decisions that are neither relevant, nor based on in-depth consultation with staff and their elected representatives.

It is to halt the damaging projects that have already been announced, and to avoid similar underhand tactics in the future, that we must make a success of this strike.

Paris, Tuesday February 12. Joint AFP Trade Unions