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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #303 - Syndicalism, Radio France: The antenna for workers! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:12:33 +0300


Sixty-three days of strike, a major disruption of programs: it is the longest conflict ever seen in public broadcasting. Without result for the moment, the strike started again in March. Explanations on this resistance to demolition. ---- "The shame of the Republic" , this is how Emmanuel Macron designated public broadcasting in December 2017. The conclusions were drawn. Less than two years later, it was the announcement of 299 job cuts at Radio France and a plan for 1,000 "voluntary" departures at France Télévisions by 2022. ---- The announcement outraged the staff, who began a struggle of unprecedented duration: sixty-three days. Not continuously, however: a kind of rotation has been set up informally, but the result is that many strikers are more than thirty days withheld from pay.

The CGT was the most involved in the strike, with SUD. As for the other unions (Unsa, FO, SNJ and CFDT), it was rather the wait-and-see attitude that dominated ... before agreeing, on January 24, to start negotiations with the management on a collective conventional break instead of the voluntary departure plan. A beautiful scam ! [1]

This nevertheless marked a turning point: the employees are tired by sixty-three days of struggle, and only two unions call to continue the fight. It is this evolution of the balance of power that pushed the CGT to opt for a "pause" in the strike, before relaunching it in March, in the middle of the electoral period.

Bolloré and Lagardère for models ?
Before resuming the fight, let us therefore look a little at this "shame" for which the employees are responsible. This downsizing is announced at a time when the Radio France group is doing particularly well. France Inter leads the hearings ; France Bleu is the most listened to general interest proximity radio; France Info is the most widely followed news media. These figures clearly show that the stake is not economic, but that with this attack, it is a question of putting an end to a certain vision of public service. Even if it is far from being free from defects, both in the content of its programs and in the way of treating its employees, it remains a bulwark against the concentration of the media in the hands of a handful of billionaires .

Bolloré (CNews, C8, Canal +, etc.) can impose Éric Zemmour on a daily program, while cutting 500 positions (almost 20% of the workforce). Lagardère pays its stars a fortune on Europe 1 while paying its journalists and slingshot technicians. But these brutal management methods are not without consequences for production, and the audience realizes it ! Canal + has lost almost half of its audience since the takeover by Bolloré (2.6% market share in 2015 ; 1.3% in 2019) and Europe 1 continues its vertiginous fall, of 5.5 million listeners in 2010 to 2.7 million in 2019.

As we can see: cutting budgets, mistreating employees is making audiovisual at a discount. This is what the government claims to do with public broadcasting. The primary beneficiaries would be its private competitors, who would gain audience shares, and the advertising markets that go with it.

Relative independence of public service
The relative independence of the public service - evidenced by the freedom of the columnists of France Inter to make fun of their bosses openly[2]- contributed to its success. Likewise, people surely remembered that France Bleu and France 3 Normandie were the only media that continued to deal with the Lubrizol disaster in Rouen while all the others zapped it to deal with the death of Chirac. The coming merger of the editorial offices of France Bleu and France 3 is also likely to reduce the regional network in favor of a Parisian centralization of information...

Resistance and diversion
The challenge of this sacking of the public audiovisual sector is to subdue any spirit of contestation and counter-power which may still be found in the state-controlled media. To let the audiovisual landscape be nibbled by racism, Islamophobia, sexism and class contempt. Pass on information after communication.

The consequences of a break in the work tool for employment and quality are obvious. At France Médias Monde (which includes France 24, RFI and the Arabic radio MCD), the decision to close a transmitter in Cyprus without the agreement of the unions led, in the following months, to a plan to cut posts in the Arabic radio MCD .

What if the solution to a viable media landscape was not to abandon the core business to move towards profitability, but on the contrary to let employees do what they can do ? What if the solution was simply to give less power to leaders and more to workers ? This is one of the challenges of the strike: reminding who produces, who keeps the radio alive, what the struggling employees knew how to put forward during their actions. Whether it's the president's wishes interrupted by the choir members of Radio France singing Le Choeur des Esclaves (taken from Nabucco by Verdi) or the Radio podcast inside out, allowing strikers to continue to inform on the subjects which interest them without having to beg for the approval of the direction.

So will the fight resume in March, as the combative unions hope ? "Difficult to say during a trough, answers Lionel Thompson (SNJ-CGT), but what is certain is that no one is satisfied. The month of March is that of the municipalities, and that will help in the balance of power."

Mathieu (UCL Paris northeast)

SIBYLE VEIL, A TECHNOCRATE OF SHOCK
The newly appointed CEO of Radio France, Sibyle Veil, is a pure product of technocracy: Sciences Po, the ENA, before entering the Council of State and then being occupied by the destruction of the public hospital within of the AP-HP. She has never presented or produced a program in front of a microphone or behind a console. The only reason which led Emmanuel Macron to name it is their camaraderie on the benches of the ENA. She enters the already long list of directors of companies and public administrations appointed for their ability to make profitable what does not have to be, without ever taking into account the opinion of the employees. es.

Arrived in 2018 in a radio already weakened by the management of its predecessor (270 positions cut since 2015), she will be responsible for continuing with the implementation of a savings plan of 60 million euros. Its mission is also to manage the "modernization of trades towards digital", consisting in automating part of the know-how of technicians and journalists, which will only lead to more mediocre standardized programs.

We would thus move from the production of "radio programs", in a logic of service, to that of "audio content", in a logic of commercial products. To believe that the desire of the president is to have employees as flexible and adaptable as the programs they broadcast.

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?Radio-France-L-antenne-aux-travailleurs
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