General Strike of March 14th entered the History of Portuguese Journalism

The newsrooms of 64 local, regional and national media outlets were completely paralyzed and there were serious constraints in dozens of others

The general strike of journalists this Thursday (14), the first in more than 40 years, was a milestone in the history of Portuguese journalism. Journalists joined the national protest en masse for decent working conditions and in defense of democracy. The newsrooms of 64 local, regional and national media outlets were completely paralyzed and there were serious constraints in dozens of others.

In a balance statement, the Journalists' Union (SJ) says it hopes that «the management and administrations have understood the discontent that is spreading among the class, finally moving from words to actions».

The total shutdown of national media was very significant.

The Diário de Notícias editorial team stopped completely: the website was not updated and the paper edition did not reach newsstands on Friday.

The Lusa Agency – which closed its news line – and public radio were also completely paralyzed – for 24 hours there were no news broadcasts on Antena1, Antena3, RDP AFRICA and RDP Internacional. The newsrooms of TSF, O Jogo, TVI/CNN Algarve and SIC Évora were also deserted.

Among the generalist national media outlets that did not completely stop, several registered very strong support, with evident constraints on their news flow.

This was the case of Visão (90% membership), Jornal de Notícias (83%), Público (83%), Expresso (75%), Observador (56%), Jornal de Negócios (50%) and Rádio Renascença (38 %). RTP's Lisbon newsroom recorded a turnout of 85%. On RTP Açores, Jornal da Tarde and Notícias do Atlântico were canceled; all Antena 1 Açores information blocks have been suspended. In several public radio and television delegations the strike was total: Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Guarda and Évora. International correspondents also joined the protest: stops in Madrid, Paris, Rio de Janeiro.

Thursday's gatherings across the country also had a strong presence of journalists, a clear sign of strengthening unity and solidarity between the class: Lisbon (around 700 people), Porto (200), Ponta Delgada (70) , Coimbra (65) and Faro (30)

There were also two spontaneous concentrations, one in Viseu and another in Évora. Most of the concentrations had an important presence of students, retired journalists and members of civil society who came to show their support.

The multiplication of concentrations was the result of the dynamics that were created in the weeks leading up to the strike and the intense participation of journalists working outside Lisbon and Porto.

The massive support of the regional press was, in fact, essential for the enormous success of the strike. Local information journalists have been pointing out for years the degradation of their working conditions and specific difficulties in the financial sustainability of media organizations.

The newsrooms of 7Montes, AlmadaOnline, Barlavento, Jornal do Algarve, Jornal do Ave, Jornal do Centro, Jornal do Fundão, Maré Viva, Médio Tejo, Notícias da Covilhã, Notícias do Sorraia, Porto Canal, Rádio Despertar Voz de Estremoz, completely stopped. Radio Cova da Beira, Radio M24, Radio Paivense, Radio SBSR, Leiria Region, Reconquista, Radio do Pico, Radio Asas do Atlântico, Faces, Seia Digital, O Setubalense, Sul Informação, A Voz do Operário, among many others.

In the Azores, where the strike had a global support of 42%, Diário da Lagoa, Ilha Maior and Baluarte suspended all editorial work. TSF Açores, Rádio Clube Asas do Atlântico and Rádio Pico suspended all information blocks. In Açoriano Oriental (from the Global Media Group) and Diário Insular, participation in the strike was 50%. All correspondents on the islands without delegation from public radio and television channels joined the strike.

Some non-traditional media outlets also joined the protest, paralyzing 100%: Coimbra Coolectiva, Comunidade Cultura e Arte, Divergente, Fumaça, Lisboa para Pessoas, 7Margens, Setenta e Quatro and Shifter.

There were also university radio stations and newspapers joining the protest, with the total support of the newspaper A Cabra, Rádio Universidade de Coimbra (RUC) and Rádio Universitária do Minho (RUM), a clear sign that the struggle of Today it is also the fight for the future of the class.

34 freelance journalists, one of the most vulnerable segments of the class, informed the Union of their adherence to the strike.

The Union adds that «the mass adherence of journalists to the general strike took place in an environment in which the hierarchies carried out various schemes (illegal and/or unethical) to reduce the impact of the protest».

«In addition to managers asking journalists if they would join the strike, which is illegal», the SJ is aware that there was «enticement with overtime or extra days off for journalists to extend their working hours to fill the “holes” “left by the strikers”.

There was also «use of interns and workers with green receipts replacing journalists from the staff on strike, as well as reinforcement of shifts, among others».

The SJ considers, in its statement, that «the class found itself in the list of demands for the general strike. To the Journalists' demands are clear and the Union hopes that management and administration have finally understood the discontent that is spreading among the class, moving from words to actions. As much as they love the profession and keep alive the spirit of mission that brought them to the profession in the first place, journalists have demonstrated that they are no longer willing to tolerate the inhumane working conditions in which so many carry out their duties».



Claim book, because it never hurts to remember:
Journalists demand: – Salary increases in 2024 higher than the inflation accumulated since 2022 and a substantial improvement in freelancers’ remuneration;

– The guarantee of a decent salary upon entering the profession and regular career progression;

– Payment of supplements for hardship, shift work and exemption from working hours;

– Remuneration for overtime, night work and weekend work and holidays;

– The end of widespread and fraudulent precariousness in the sector, through the abusive use of green receipts and fixed-term contracts;

– Scrupulous compliance with the laws of the Labor Code, including ensuring the necessary technical equipment, in particular for image and sound capture;

– Scrupulous compliance with the Collective Labor Agreement for the press and the generalization of collective bargaining for the audiovisual and radio sectors;

– Fair remuneration for those who complete the mandatory internship to access the profession;

– Human and material conditions for news production, complying with ethical and deontological principles;

– State intervention in guaranteeing the financial sustainability of journalism;

– The review of regulatory structures for social communication and journalism, ensuring their updating and capacity to safeguard the quality of information.


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Solidarity and unity

The 10th Congress of Journalists, held in January, unanimously mandated the Journalists' Union to call and mobilize the class for a general strike, after a first one-hour strike had already taken place in solidarity with the journalists and workers of the Global Media Group who they went on strike on January XNUMXth.

In fact, last week's strike took place days after GMG management announced a new collective dismissal of 24 professionals, including eight journalists, at Diário de Notícias.

The very process of organizing and mobilizing the strike was based on the union between the journalists' class, as it was organized by Union leaders and non-leadership elements.

«The path taken between the 5th Congress and the day of the strike demonstrated the success and need for a broad front in the fight for journalists' rights».

Furthermore, the SJ called this strike in consultation with other unions in the sector, demonstrating once again through practice that union unity is essential for the defense of workers' rights.

The Telecommunications Workers Union, the National Telecommunications and Audiovisual Workers Union and the Audiovisual Media Union also issued strike notices covering all professionals with a professional journalist card. The CGTP-IN and UGT trade unions also express their support and solidarity with the journalists' fight for decent working conditions and the defense of journalism, an essential pillar of democracy.

The Journalists' Union reinforces its commitment to defending the rights of all journalists, including the inalienable right to strike, to continue fighting for decent working conditions and to defend democracy. Because you can't write freedom without journalism.



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