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Greek workers, including media workers, are staging a fresh general strike in protest at government austerity measures. The day of action has grounded flights, disrupted public transport and closed schools across the country. It is the seventh general strike this year, following cuts and austerity measures imposed by the government in return for a 110bn euro (£84bn) bail-out.

Protesting against the abolition of collective labour agreements, the violation of labour and pension rights, and layoffs of unprecedented proportions, Greece’s journalists and media workers took part in a 24-hour nationwide general strike, bringing news coverage to a halt.

En masse the journalists’ unions, along with other unions representing media workers under the auspices of the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists Unions (POESY), demanded the signing of collective agreements in both private and public media, the safeguarding of jobs and the maintenance of quality journalism.

“The course of labour matters for journalists in Greece is a source of grave concern for all European journalists” said the President of the EFJ Arne König during a European meeting on authors’ rights held in Thessaloniki last weekend.

“We are deeply concerned over the coordinated effort by publishers to deregulate labour relations, without regard to the consequences on the quality of journalism. The strike mobilizations that are to be held by the Greek journalists in the upcoming week are significant to all of us. When our Greek colleagues are defending their right to collective bargaining they are sending a clear message to the publishers: they can’t deal with shrinking profits by laying off journalists; they’d only be weakening their most valued product, which is information”.

The Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH) stresses that the seemingly endless stream of job redundancies that have taken place in Northern Greece in the recent weeks constitute an assault against the public good known as information.

This warning strike, held by both the print and broadcast media, will end on Thursday 16 December at 6 am and will be followed by a 48-hour strike on Friday and Saturday, 17-18 December.

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Source EFJ statement