Worldwide Protest over Canadian Media Lockout
Journalists across the Globe Join Concerted Protest over Canadian Media Lockout
In a show of global solidarity, the International Federation of Journalists announced today that journalists’ unions around the world on Monday will join a protest over the month-long lockout of 5,500 union members at Canada’s public service broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
The IFJ and its member unions have condemned the management’s confrontational style and are calling on the Canadian government to intervene to ensure that the CBC negotiates fairly with the local union, the Canadian Media Guild, to bring a swift conclusion to this dispute.
“This dispute is damaging Canada’s international reputation for quality broadcasting and respect for international labour standards,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It’s time for talks that will deliver fairness and a peaceful settlement and an end to provocative and confrontational management.”
The Day of Action on September 12 is in support of the union-represented employees at the CBC who were locked out on August 15 after talks on a new collective agreement stalled over a company demand to bring in part-time and contract workers as replacements for jobs currently filled by full-time employees. The CBC is relying on foreign news and programming to fill the gaps caused by the loss of local material.
“We are asking the government to intervene on behalf of all Canadians,” said White. “CBC should be providing local programming that caters to the country’s different communities rather than abandoning its public service mandate by getting foreign news and entertainment shows to fill the gaps in its service.”
In Britain, the United States, and across Europe as well as in key global news centres, union representatives plan co-ordinated protests. In particular, union members working for the BBC – a key provider of the material that is filling the shortfall in programming during the lockout – will stage a protest on Monday outside BBC offices in London. The National Union of Journalists and the broadcasting technicians union BECTU are demanding that the BBC stops CBC airing extra BBC programmes during the lockout.
In Washington, members of The Newspaper Guild-CWA will hold a rally led by Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley, CWA President Larry Cohen and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in support of their CBC colleagues.
Union protests and appeals for the Canadian government to act will take place at Canadian embassies in London, Washington, Berlin, Brussels, Canberra, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Letters will be issued calling on the Canadian government and the Prime Minister to ensure CBC ends the lockout and negotiates a fair contract with the CMG.
“The CBC locked out journalists and media staff are eager to get back to their jobs and provide the kind of radio and television programming Canadian viewers want,” said White. “But their fight to prevent the company from turning many more full-time jobs into temporary or contract work is one that resonates around the world. It is a struggle for decent working conditions, and a determined defence of quality broadcasting and public service values.”