European Federation of Journalists

May Day 2023: Together for a fair deal for workers

Credits: ETUC.

Journalists’ organisations across Europe demonstrated against austerity on 1 May. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the delegation of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in Paris alongside the French unions.

“Europe needs a new economic and social model that puts people and the planet before profit at any cost,” said Esther Lynch, the ETUC General Secretary. “That’s the future that European trade union members will be demonstrating for today. And that will be the objective of our discussions and decision at the ETUC’s congress later this month. The history of May Day tells us that real change is possible when working people join together to demand better.”

EFJ Steering Committee member and SNJ-CGT Deputy General Secretary Pablo Aiquel joined Esther Lynch and the ETUC delegation to denounce the implementation of a global austerity 2.0 policy, in Paris, where the French journalists’ unions SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT-Journalistes and SGJ-FO had called on journalists to join the May Day marchers in large numbers to demand the withdrawal of the pension law, to defend freedom of information and to promote better working conditions.

“This May Day demonstration in Paris was marked by a strong European and internationalist component,” said Pablo Aiquel. “In line with the unitary struggle against pension reform in France, the French unions invited trade union leaders from all over the world. Journalists are also workers and it was important for the EFJ to be present to show solidarity with our comrades from other professions and from the European and global trade union movement.”

In an opinion piece released on Monday, Esther Lynch stated that “this year in particular the European labour movement has every reason to be on the march. We have a cost-of-living crisis caused by corporations cynically supercharging their prices and profits under the cover of supply problems arising from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. At the same time, workers are struggling to pay for food and rent as a result of the biggest cut in real wages since the start of this century. Despite that, only a handful of European countries have imposed windfall taxes on excess profits to deal with the profit-price spiral driving inflation. (…) Austerity 2.0 is underway: from various policy makers demands for wage restraint and the introduction of devastating interest rate hikes that are causing real harm to workers to President Macron’s undemocratic pension reform in France or the Danish government’s elimination of a public holiday.”

“We can no longer tolerate vast sums of public money being handed to companies who act against the public interest by paying poverty wages and leaving our underfunded social systems to pick up the bill,” added the ETUC General Secretary. “Companies like Amazon, who received more than 1 billion Euro in public contracts over just three years. That’s why one of the main demands in the ETUC Congress manifesto will be a total ban on public money being handed to union-busting, tax-dodging, environment-destroying bosses. Failure to reign in the rampant inequality and the corporate greed which has caused the current crisis would be a gift to the far-right.”