Buenos Aires Herald Strike.
“Strike: noun. 1. A refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer – Oxford Dictionary.
And that is what employees of the Buenos Aires Herald are doing today. Not just the journalists (and we are also translators, editors, graphic designers and picture editors), but the administrative staff too.
In Argentina, employees collectively bargain for a pay rise – that’s to say, we all sit down together to decide what to ask management for and then present that proposal. Management invariably rejects it and so there’s plenty of to-ing, fro-ing, discussion and tactical psychology going on.
Truth be known, a lot of it goes over my head – it can be complex, M’Lord – but at the end of the day a pay rise affects me and my colleagues which is obviously the reason I take a personal interest. Why wouldn’t I? For more than two years (July 2008 to October 2010) I earned 1,750 pesos. (The pound sterling is currently at 6.5 pesos, you do the maths…). Apparently, the minimum wage for an employee in a toothpick-making factory is 3,200 pesos. (Strong union, the toothpick-making one.)
In the UK I was always a paid-up member of the NUJ – journalism can be a precarious industry to work in, dangerous even, depending on the route you take. God, I’ve even been threatened with legal action by the Big Yellow Bus company in Buenos Aires for daring to mention the Roofless Bus Company’s name in the same breath…
Newspapers mushroom, but equally they get closed down with no explanation. I know plenty of journalists in the UK who have been made redundant overnight with little, or better still, no explanation. “
Good luck to them.
(H/T: Eamonn McDonagh)