Solidaires-Unitaires-Démocratiques à l’Agence France-Presse

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Wages : United We Stand, Divided We Fall

mardi 5 juin 2012

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"Since at least 2007, most of us have seen our real wages at best tread water, and at worst decline due to inflation," the joint trade unions representing all HQ-status staff at AFP wrote unanimously in April.
At that point we had agreed to push a joint demand for a 150-euro gross wage increase for all staff this year, with a 5% hike for freelance journalists. It was a modest demand, but apparently agreed on by all.
Since then, the main French media trade unions have reached a national pay deal with the Parisian press employers’ association, SPQN. The deal calls for a 2% increase for all, but with almost half of that amount postponed until next year. The only bright spots being that the agreement covers ALL staff working under French labour contracts, and that for once freelancers have not been forgotten.

(Needless to say, the increases in question do not concern local-status staff, whose cause SUD will continue to push whenever possible).
As is customary at AFP, management are applying the national agreement, which resulted in an initial increase of 0.7% on HQ-status wages for May. The remainder is due to come in small increments over the coming year : 0.4% in November, a further 0.4% in March 2013 and a final 0.5% next May. All the unions agree that the national pay deal hardly begins to compensate us for our losses in purchasing power over recent years. Whence the importance of the statutory annual wage talks at AFP, which resumed on Monday after a break of several weeks. Alas : as was to be expected, Human Resources Director Béatrice André told us that even the modest rises granted in the national agreement had been more than what management had budgeted for. She therefore considers the statutory talks over and done with, in effect telling the unions "Don’t call us, we’ll call you" ! During a preparatory joint union meeting on Wednesday May 30th, we had in principle all agreed to demand 100 euros for all, with 3% on freelance rates. After factoring in the national wage deal, that would bring us up to the level we had initially aimed for. During Monday’s meeting with management, SUD restated those demands. Only resolute staff action, behind trade unions acting in unison, will allow us to win such an improvement to the national wage deal. SUD, which has always worked to achieve such unity, regrets that for the moment the underlying conditions do not exist. SUD-AFP, Tuesday June 5, 2012