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Unacceptable Appointment to AFP Photo Service is of Concern to all Staff

Friday 10 August 2012

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Statement from the CGT, CFDT, FO, SNJ, SUD and CGC-CFE trade unions representing all HQ-status staff at AFP

On August 1, AFP management announced the appointment of an external candidate to the post of deputy editor in chief of the Photo Service for France. The said candidate having been chosen instead of an internal applicant, Eric Cabanis, who has 25 years experience as a staff reporter with AFP, is currently the regional photo chief for Toulouse and is also an elected official of the SNJ-CGT union. Management stated that his professional skills were not in question.


This appointment has been met with anger by many AFP photographers and by the unions, who demand that it be cancelled and the job reposted.
Management’s decision goes against all the in-house agreements and rules at AFP as regards appointments. Those rules and agreements have always given priority to internal candidates over external ones for equivalent levels of skill.

By riding roughshod over those principles, management has violated the very values of promotion and career plans that it claims to defend in other cases. It has also cited the profile of the chosen candidate, and notably his "experience of magazine and illustration subjects", despite the fact that the posting of the job in question made no mention whatsoever of any such requirements. Indeed, the "position vacant" ad for the post of deputy editor in chief of the French Photo Service mentioned no job requirements whatosever.

And when it published the profiles of the candidates for the job, management even stated that the external applicant had worked as a freelancer for the agency since 1991 - a false statement that it later withdrew, quoting an "administrative error".

In relation to this case, management has since talked of "the directions it wants the Photo Service to take", involving the creation of a "closely-knit management team". Which overlooks the fact that at no point has management informed either AFP staff or its elected union officials of any plans for such new directions.

This appointment is all the more unacceptable in that it will result in a net recruitment at a time when management is continually demanding that bureaus and services make drastic cost cuts, and when all external recruitment has been officially frozen. Hiring a journalist from outside when there is an in-house candidate and at the same time refusing to give full status to young people on temporary contracts, not to mention a number of photographers who have been freelancers for over 10 years without being given full-status jobs, is a clear insult to AFP staff.

For all the above reasons we call on all AFP staff to massively lend their support to the following appeal made by 18 AFP photo reporters:

"The undersigned photo reporters call on management to cancel the appointment of a candidate from outside AFP to the post of deputy editor in chief of the French photo service. We demand that the post be re-advertised.

This external hiring decision, which goes against AFP’s basic rules, is of concern to all staff."

Signatures in support of this appeal should be sent by e-mail to the joint trade unions at inter@afp.com.

CGT, CFDT, FO, SNJ, SUD and CGC-CFE trade unions representing all HQ-status staff at AFP - Friday August 10, 2012