European Journalists Support Action against Styria’s Double Standards at Vecernji List

 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

Vecernji list".

 "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

publisher.

 "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

employees".

 Members of the EFJ and IFJ can send

messages of support to sinoh@hnd.hr

For more information, please contact

EFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00

The EFJ represents more than 250.000

members in over 30 countries