The National Association of Journalists of Peru (Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú-ANP) claims this May 1, Worker’s Day, the urgent need to achieve decent living and working conditions, a desire that cannot be postponed in a just society. 137 years have passed since the deed of the Chicago Martyrs and the fight for 8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest and 8 hours of recreation. This act regains alarming validity in the face of extreme precariousness and inhumane working-days.
The sacrifice of the Chicago Martyrs teaches us that the way to win rights is through organization and collective action. Their legacy reminds us that today’s labour rights are not privileges or concessions of employers or governments, but the result of the tireless struggle of workers.
From the ANP, in particular, we remember with deep respect the Chicago martyrs, who were workers in the sector -typographers, journalists, among others-, highlighting the role of August Spies, one of the leaders of the May 1 demonstration , who edited a newspaper called «Arbeiter-Zeitung» (The Worker’s Newspaper) in which the injustices and exploitation of the workers of the time were denounced. The publication of the newspaper was one of the reasons why Spies was arrested and charged with inciting violence at the May 1 demonstration.
The other Chicago martyr linked to journalism was Albert Parsons. Parsons worked as an editor at several Texas newspapers and was one of the founders of «The Alarm» newspaper in Chicago. In this newspaper, Parsons wrote about the conditions of workers and denounced the exploitation and social injustice.
The role of the press and freedom of expression were fundamental in the labour movement and in the fight for labour rights. Newspapers and written publications became the main means of disseminating the workers’ demands.
Great call for attention, today, and an opportunity to reflect on the role of journalism in the country and the need to amplify the demands of the neglected sectors.
On a date of such significance as this, the ANP pays special tribute to journalists from the regions, who independently, facing precarious working conditions, resorting to multiple employment, exercising the activity for the commitment to serve the citizenry, without social protection, with a State that considers them an essential service but does not treat them as such, they are still there, at the front line, often fighting for basic rights that are unknown to them. These journalists are often the target of threats, intimidation and violence by powerful groups. However, they continue to fight to inform society, to bring the truth to light and to defend freedom of expression, without even knowing if they can meet their basic needs on a day-to-day basis.
In this context, institutions like the ANP have a fundamental role, as a space for organization and collective action, and can make a big difference in the fight for better working conditions for journalists.
Proof of this is found in the labour legislation promoted by the union in the 1980s, which contemplates a 40-hour work week for journalists, early retirement, professional risk insurance, among other achievements that for many companies in the sector continue to be dead letter and for which we have the duty to continue claiming. In particular, to claim the legitimate demand for the right to unionize and solidarity with all those colleagues who support the company union as a bargaining tool, such as the case of the newspaper El Peruano, TV Perú and América Televisión. We encourage those who have suffered reprisals and persecution against the initiative to exercise this fundamental right to continue with the collective commitment.
For this reason, on this Labour Day, we renew our firm commitment to continue fighting for a more just and equitable society, where decent work is a reality for everyone.
As our founder, José Carlos Mariátegui, rightly said on a date like this: «Labour Day is not a nostalgic commemoration of the past, but a claim for the rights and needs of workers in the present and the future».
May 1 2023
National Executive Committee
Source: https://www.cronicaviva.com.pe/1-de-mayo-el-trabajo-digno-es-un-derecho-no-un-privilegio/ (original Spanish)