Publishers say no to social partnership

Publishers have rejected a contract negotiated with Impressum on new minimum working conditions. The journalists' organization Impressum is snubbed, as it had come a long way towards accommodating the publishers, as it writes in a press release.

The Swiss Media Publishers Association does not want an agreement on the working conditions of journalists in German-speaking Switzerland and Ticino. At their annual congress in Interlaken on September 12, 2013, the publishers rejected by a large majority a draft agreement that would have made minimum standards binding.

The publishers are not only snubbing the journalists' organization Impressum, but also their own managing director, who negotiated this draft contract with Impressum, the journalists' organization said in a statement. The joint work of one and a half years has been ruined. In the search for a compromise, Impressum had come a long way towards accommodating the publishers and had accepted that no minimum wages would be included in this contract, but that a solution in the area of wages would be negotiated once the contract had been concluded. However, even this modest new start - after a decade since the last collective labor agreement was terminated - was rejected by the publishers. They did not want a social partnership with their journalistic staff, for whom they visibly showed little appreciation.

The Impressum professional association, the largest Swiss journalists' organization, sees this decision as a warning signal. Apparently, publishers are planning to further worsen the working conditions of journalists and drive down wages, the press release continues. Impressum - together with the other industry organizations - will defend itself against this with all available means. Impressum has already documented the Tripartite Commission of the Confederation with numerous examples in which the minimum provisions for working hours, wages and fees customary in the industry are blatantly undercut. Following the publishers' rejection of the draft agreement, impressum recommends that the federal and cantonal tripartite commissions take regulatory action. Serious labor inspections by the responsible authorities will uncover the sometimes scandalous conditions.

A solution based on social partnership is now a distant prospect. However, Impressum does not intend to let this discourage it from continuing to defend the rights of journalists with strength and perseverance.

Since the termination of the CLA in 2003, the only binding lower limit for working conditions has been the law. The now rejected proposal better defined the minimum working conditions in various areas. In contrast to the recommendations of Swiss media ("minimum standards"), it would have been legally enforceable for journalists, according to Impressum. It contained, for example, improvements to notice periods, days off to compensate for regular night and Sunday work, better minimum regulations for continued payment of wages in the event of maternity and illness, at least five weeks' vacation for all, protection against dismissal for elected staff representatives during social plan negotiations and other improvements.


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