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Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National CGT Journalists' Union (SNJ-CGT)

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Journalists: One More Effort To Prevent the Destruction of AFP’s Statutes!


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The 2009 staff elections provided striking confirmation of the importance of the challenges facing both AFP and its staff under the presidency of Pierre Louette.

In the poll of journalists, the key feature of the election was the turn-out: no less than 61% of voters took part and voted for one or another of the four union lists.

Given that we often have a hard time persuading more than half of our colleagues to make the effort to vote - two years ago a turn-out rate of 54% was considered very good - it’s easy to see that this year there is an unusual level of concern. The difference being the negative plans being hatched by management and the French government.

The SNJ-CGT is proud to have contributed to this exceptional turn-out.

It is true that our own results were a disappointment: although we held onto our mandates, the total number of votes we received was little increased.

Our results can no doubt be explained, at least in part, by the deceptive image of modernity which management is projecting to justify what are in fact extremely dangerous plans. A lot of people are impressed by such ideas.

There is also a certain amount of fear, given the threats against both us as a company and in the world at large. In such conditions it is easy to forget that strength can only come from unity.

Notwithstanding; the high turn-out for the elections is in itself a very good sign for the mobilisations to come.

For the second piece of good news to emerge from these elections is that all the journalists’ unions that ran candidates, without exception, are signatories of our "Petition for the Independence and Survival of Agence France-Presse", which is approaching, with your help, 15,000 signatures!

It is worth recalling that by endorsing the petition, all the journalists’ unions committed themselves to rejecting:

"any change which would have the effect of either turning AFP into a government agency, or handing it over either wholly or partially to private companies of any type and in whatever form."

One can attempt all sorts of intellectual or verbal contorsions, but it is simply not possible to reconcile that demand with the project being promoted by Pierre Louette at the request of the French government!

On Friday April 3, our "Fifth Column" CEO, going beyond the brief given him by the three government ministries that have representatives on the agency’s board, also handed over his famous 30-page document directly to the speaker of the lower house of the French parliament, Bernard Accoyer. A bit rich, given that your elected representatives have still not been able to see the document in question!

Under these conditions, fortified by the exceptional mobilisation shown in the elections, your unions will remain united to defend the essentials: our wages, our staffing levels, our professions and our independence.

Along with the other trade unions, the SNJ-CGT will propose new modes of action in the days to come.

In the meantime, a big thank-you to everyone who voted, and above all those who voted for combative trade unions.

The SNJ-CGT will continue the fight to defend both AFP and its staff.

SNJ-CGT-AFP, Friday April 10, 2009