ABC journalists to go on strike

Photo by Danny Casey/AAP

Contributed from Victoria by a member of the MEAA

Next Tuesday (7 March) ABC journalists will be walking off the job for 24 hours. This is their first strike since 2006. The current dispute is over the of management to offer an acceptable agreement, which resulted in more than 90 percent of the journalists voting for strike action unless a suitable offer is made.

In fact, the latest offer is less than the offer that had been made last year and rejected.

Both television and radio services are affected by the dispute.

ABC journalists rejected the first offer on 9 November last year

Journalists are asking for better job security, equal pay for journalists in the regions and for women, and inclusion of journalists form diverse backgrounds. They want a career path for junior journalists to gain skill and experience. There must be backpay to cover for the delay by the ABC in trying to work out a new agreement.  

ABC management is initially tried to impose a three-year agreement with a one-off payment of $750 and pay increases of 3.5 percent, 3 percent, and 2,5 percent. This will not even keep up with the inflation rate.  The new offer is a $1,500 once-off payment, and pay increases of 4 percent, 3.5 percent, and 3 percent.

This offer has been rejected because although a little more pay is offered, there is still nothing to improve job security and equality.

When voting, the journalists also supported a strategy that will involve Various forms of continuing industrial action. Expect further disruptions until a resolution is found.

MEAA Media Director Cassie Derrick said members are resolute and determined to fight for a better deal. A media release by the union said that despite a meeting with the ABC managing director David Anderson on Tuesday this week, nothing new was offered.

The media release quoted Cassie Derrick.

“David Anderson listened to our concerns and has agreed to postpone voting on the current offer, but there was no commitment made about providing an improved deal that addresses the major concerns of the staff.:

This dispute has a lot to do with years of government attacks on the ABC and cuts in funding, championed by Rupert Murdock as a means to get rid of the competition, and possibly eventually take over at a bargain price. The attack has involved the installation of an increasingly compliant management.

Murdoch’s vilification of the ABC has been relentless and part of the strategy to kill it by a thousand cuts and compliant management

A growing body of former ABC journalists has been voicing its concern over the direction taken by the public broadcaster. This includes Kerry O’Brien, Quentin Dempster, Ian Mannix, Patricia Barraclough, Barrie Cassidy, Alex Sloan and Max Uechtritz. This centres on the framing of content, the rise of censorship and self-censorship, and the treatment of employees.

A widening employee – management divide has been the result.

2 Comments on "ABC journalists to go on strike"

  1. ARTHUR WALTER LEKAMGE | 2 March 2023 at 10:09 am | Reply

    I am sincerely grateful to the staff of ABC for their unbiased opinions. Hopefully the dispute will be resolved in favour of them.
    What is being exposed in the US with the Murdoch press is a good indication where they want to take Australia.

  2. This could well be te last stand for ethical journalism in Australia. The Coalition plan has obviously been to infiltrate the ABC with numerous Murdoch lickspittles and eventually hand over ownership of the ABC to Murdoch . MEAA members are defending the Democratic process in Australia by their strike actions.

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