AFP Turkey office goes on strike on World Press Freedom Day
On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, press workers of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Istanbul Bureau have commenced a strike under the leadership of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) to protest the low wages policy.
Press workers of AFP’s Turkey Bureau gathered in front of the AFP Turkey Office in Şişli, Istanbul, where TGS Chair Gökhan Durmuş read out a statement on behalf of the press workers and announced that they went on a strike on May 3, which has been celebrated as Press Freedom Day in many countries since 1993.
'WE ARE GOING THROUGH A SEVERE ECONOMIC CRISIS'
Durmuş pointed out that journalists needed secure jobs and decent wages for the freedom of the press. He revealed that they explained the economic situation in Turkey and their concerns to employer representatives during the collective bargaining negotiations about 5 months ago, but they could not reach an agreement on a wage hike.
Durmuş said that the country was going through a severe economic crisis which triggered skyrocketing prices of consumer goods. He noted that the prices of basic consumption goods and house rents have increased by 300 percent.
“The Turkish lira keeps losing value against the dollar and the euro. The wages of our members at AFP also continue to erode. We asked AFP officials to convert our wages to euro. When our offer was rejected, we requested at least a protection mechanism to compensate the meltdown in the Turkish lira. However, this offer of ours was also rejected. The wages of our workfellows decreased by half compared to euro to lira exchange rate 3 years ago.”
Durmuş stressed that: “We will not give up our struggle until journalists can write freely without censorship or pressure and enjoy their rights.”
After the press statement, a strike banner was hung on the wall of the AFP Turkey Office.