We started the new year this week with our first global trade union campaign to help colleagues at the National Federation of Media Workers (FENATRAMCO) in Chile to save the main daily newspaper La Nación. Journalists there have been waging for several weeks a tough campaign to deflect plans to close down the paper version of their newspaper, which they believe will lead to its death and the loss of 600 jobs.
FENATRAMCO say that a vicious management have instituted a rule of fear, firing workers in batches, with no attempt at consultation nor a negotiated settlement for the future of the newspaper.
La Nación is publicly owned and belongs to the Chilean nation. For 90 years it has done a first-class public service and gained a special place in the heart of Chilean citizens. I have written to President Sebastian Piñera – the government being a majority shareholder – in support of the rescue plan made by the union: that any financial model for the future of La Nación is drafted by media professionals themselves, that the newspaper is given an autonomy status such as at the national TV and for a transparent and democratic appointment procedure for its director, and above all that the dismissals of workers be stopped forthwith.
I urged all IFJ affiliates globally to join the campaign and support their colleagues. They too should write to the president on behalf of their union and distribute the electronic postcard, and urge their members to use it. President Piñera is only a click away. All the details are on the IFJ website.