European Journalists Back Greek Unions in Battle over Defence of Rights of Media workers

The European Federation of Journalists, the regional body of the International Federation of Journalists, today accused media employers in both public and private sectors over cuts in jobs and management practices that are “tearing to shreds” the fabric of quality journalism.

Months of unpaid wages in some newspapers, job cuts in official information services, the end of some work contracts in state media and threats to pension rights and social insurance across the industry are a sign of a profound crisis within Greek media says the EFJ.

“There is no escaping the gravity of this crisis,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the EFJ and the IFJ. “Greek journalists and media workers are the victims of bad management and cuts that are tearing to shreds the fabric of quality journalism and press freedom in Greece.”

The EFJ was responding to news that the press unions co-ordinating committee which brings together 10 unions across the press, broadcasting and agency sectors are planning to take common action to defend the rights of media workers.

The unions say that media employers must face up to their responsibilities and put an end to actions which are undermining Greek media. They point to a number of recent problems;

• some newspapers and television stations are not paying wages on time, often with weeks or months of delay;

• jobs for journalists in the General Directorate of Information, the government press service, are being cut or transferred;

• contracts are not being renewed for correspondents with the state radio and television system ERT and the APE and MPE press agencies

• so-called flexible working conditions outside the collective agreement are being imposed and that social benefits including pensions and health insurance are being denied to the workforce.

A sign of the national character of the crisis is the news that the Athens office of the Thessaloniki-based daily newspaper Macedonia is to close with the loss of 20 jobs.

“This closure and the widespread nature of the cuts being imposed on the workforce illustrates that media are making journalists and media staff scapegoats of a crisis which is the result of poor management,” said White. “Journalists across Europe support their Greek colleagues in demands for action to protect working conditions and the rights of the workforce.”

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The EFJ represents more than 260,000 journalists in over 30 countries across Europe