Media Trade Union steps up support for journalists in the regions


Since October the Media Trade Union has stepped up its activity at regional level. As part of a new strategy for development, it plans to strengthen the material base of seven regional and local organizations, while in five of the biggest they will work over wider regions. On the basis of these organizations, not only local centres will be developed, but also trade union organizations in neighbouring regions. The development program is planned for two years, and the first phase will last 7 months,

At the first phase local organizations in Lviv, Zaporizhye, Rivne, Simferopol, Donetsk, Uzhhorod and Kremenchug will be provided with computer technology, methodology material for both trade union and journalist work. This will provide the opportunity for creating small trade union offices which journalists can approach for assistance. It is also planned to make agreements with local law clinics on providing legal help to journalists in difficult situations.

The creation of local offices will mark the beginning of a campaign for supporting collective negotiations in editorial officials. In five regions (Lviv, Zaporizhye, Rivne, Simferopol and Donetsk), as well as in Kyiv, the Trade Union will run special seminars on collective negotiations. Local coordinators will provide support for journalists of the original centres in negotiations with media owners. Where necessary, the Media Trade Union will call in experienced negotiators from Kyiv or other regions.

Media Trade Union will provide extensive support to colleagues both from commercial, and from municipal media outlets, including “district” outlets. In each city from November to February the Media Trade Union is planning to hold regional conferences for journalists in order to identify the key problems of the region and to plan measures for overcoming them. It is intended that around March of next year there will be a nationwide trade union conference on these issues.

Plans also include organization on the basis of these trade unions of regional training centres which can provide services to members of the trade union. These will mainly involve professional development, training in new genres for journalists and in using computer programs for layout, etc.

The financing for these measures will come from different sources. The technology has been purchased through a joint program between the Media Trade Union and the Swedish Journalists’ Union (with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency SIDA).  The work of the local coordinators, running conferences, legal services will be financed with the help of the US Embassy Fund for Media Development and union membership fees.  According to the Media Trade Union’s budget, 90% of the contributions are kept for the development of local organizations. From next year it is planned to consolidate a part of these contributions for the development of original centres at the local level.

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