Today the International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists
(EFJ) expressed their support to the struggle of journalists at the Croatian
newspaper Vecernji list who will go on strike to defend their labour rights.
Journalists of the Croatian daily paper Vecernji
list, owned by Austrian media corporation Styria, will go on strike on 23
March to protest the management's refusal to sign the collective agreement.
This will cancel the existing Collective Agreement which has been renewed for
the last 15 years.
"The collective Agreement for journalists and
other media workers at Vecernji list was the first agreement of this
kind signed in the Republic of Croatia and it is a shame that this agreement is
now dismissed by the management" said EFJ President Arne König. "As
Croatia is supposed to respect EU labour standards, this is an extremely
negative move and we fully support journalists who will go on strike".
Despite conciliation talks, the Vecernji list management rejected all the demands of the IFJ/EFJ affiliate, the Trade Union
of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ) and maintained its intention to drastically
reduce existing rights of journalists by cancelling 0.5 percent wage increase
per year of service, Christmas bonus, wage adjustments to inflation rate and
other points of the agreement. A majority of journalists voted for the strike.
"The cancellation of the agreement at Vecernji
list strikes us as another evidence of double standards, in this case
an EU-based media company which does no respect rules when they operate
in other countries," said the IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Professional rights
cannot be reserved to old and well-established democracies. Governments and
media owners in other countries, in particular those close to EU membership,
also have to respect social dialogue and collective agreements. Moreover, the
reduction of labour rights will inevitably affect the quality of the content of
"The fact that the EU based media corporation
Styria disrespects journalists at Vecernji list, a 50 years old and
widely respected newspaper, is a very bad signal for all the journalists in
Croatia," said the TUCJ in a statement.
The EFJ also regrets that Vecernji list will be published every day despite the strike with the help of so called freelance
journalists outsourced in another Styria owned company, Vecernji List Media.
These permanent freelance collaborators are in fact working as full-time
journalists and they do not have the right to collaborate with another
"The bypassing of labour standards by employing
false freelancers is something that we strongly condemn. It is an evidence that
national and European authorities have to look into fake self-employed media
professionals and make sure that labour rights and collective representation
also apply to them," said Arne König. "Unprotected and precarious work should
not become the norm. All forced freelancers should be fully considered as
Members of the EFJ and IFJ can send
messages of support to email@example.com
For more information, please contact
EFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ represents more than 250.000
members in over 30 countries