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Threat of strike by AFP journalists in Turkey

Monday 13 September 2021

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

SUD-AFP expresses solidarity with colleagues in Turkey and publishes here a statement from their TGS union and a statement in support from the French unions

Statement by the Union of Journalists in Turkey (TGS)

The ongoing talks for a collective agreement with Agence France-Press (AFP), which continued for more than three months, have unfortunately ended with no agreement. The employer’s representatives turned a deaf ear to the demands of AFP employees and came to the table with almost ridiculous offers.

Although Turkey’s authorities suggest that there is no economic crisis in the country, we struggle to make our ends meet due to price hikes in basic costs of living, including food, clothing, house rent, and electricity. The inflation rate announced by Turkey’s Statistics Institution (TÜİK) stands at 19%, while the real inflation that we all feel is around 30%. Despite these facts, the employer’s representatives offered their employees only an 11% raise for wages. Our colleagues at AFP’s Turkey branch are not demanding an extortionate raise. They are only trying to protect their wages in the face of inflation. What is the real inflation in Turkey? Let me give you some examples:

In August, the prices of milk and dairy products, vegetables and fruits, and food and beverages were hiked 13.76%, 12.57%, and 8.67% respectively. The inflation rate for the period between January and August stood at 30.39%

These figures were calculated by an independent research firm. They reflect the real, unsuppressed prices that ordinary citizens face in our daily lives.

We repeatedly tried to explain these facts to the representatives of the employer at the negotiation table. Still, they came up with an offer that is only half of the official inflation rate. They cited examples from France, arguing that their employees in the office in Turkey enjoy much better conditions. They ignored the fact that the Turkish Lira lost 35% in value against Euro in the past three years.

We are indeed in favor of solving this issue through dialogue at the negotiation table for a collective agreement. However, no one should expect us to sign a contract whose terms violate the rights of our members, letting them crushed under the high costs of living.

Today we will hang this decision of strike here. If the employer fails to come to the table with a rational offer that satisfies our demands, we will not hesitate to strike in the coming days.

In this case, we will dress up for a strike, and keep the struggle until our demands are met.

Union of Journalists in Turkey (TGS)

Statement of French unions in support of our colleagues in Turkey Works council and unions

The French trade unions CGT, SNJ, SUD, FO, CFE-CGC and CFDT express their support for our local-status colleagues in Turkey who last week announced their intention to go on strike after several weeks of unsuccessful negotiations with management.

Turkey has been wracked by an economic crisis for months that has seen inflation soar. Official Turkish authorities put annual inflation at 19% while independent sources put it around 30%, in particular for basic necessities.

Faced with the strike threat, management issued a statement noting that local Turkish staff had received wage increases each year, without mentioning how much. Furthermore, it noted that they are better paid than many of their colleagues who work for Turkish media, insinuating therefore that they shouldn’t complain.

The French trade unions at AFP cannot accept such a posture by management and declare their wholehearted support of our local contract colleagues in Turkey who work in difficult conditions and under the constant pressure of an authoritarian regime.

We urge management to accede to the demands of our local Turkish colleagues.

The CGT, SNJ, SUD, FO, CFE-CGC and CFDT (all categories) trade unions