Journalists on strike in Greece to defend collective rights

Today 19 February, journalists in Athens and across the country went on strike, ahead of the general strike called by the General Confederation of Greek Workers to take place tomorrow. Journalists went on strike one day earlier in order to cover the general workers mobilization but the media strike coincides with the visit of French President F. Hollande in Athens.

The striking  mobilisation was called by the IFJ/EFJ affiliates, the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (PFJU) and joined today by the Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace (ESIEMTH). It started two weeks ago and is still going on with the participation of the collaborating media workers Unions spreading to private media as well.

The main strike demands are:
a.      Bargaining for collective agreements, currently replaced by a "Joint Ministerial Decision". The government insists on imposing blanket wages and working conditions for all public employees thus reducing journalists salaries dramatically, causing job redundancies and drops in media insurance funds resources, affecting overall media operations and public opinion information. 
b.      The government to take steps in relieving unemployed journalists and media workers from tax payments and special levies on electricity bills.
c.      To take steps to compensate losses in the Journalists Funds reserves compelled to participate in the "PSI process" replacing private bonds with new public bonds, endangering the ability to provide pensions and health insurance coverage for journalists and their families.
d.      To reverse the law allowing the reserves of public broadcaster ERT to be allocated to electricity producing companies.
e.      Journalists working in internet media to enjoy same insurance coverage and working conditions, which needs to be regulated by introducing legal adjustments.

Reactions to the strike have been very strong since ERT has repeatedly gone to Court, demanding to declare the strikes illegal. On four occasions the Court ruled that journalists should return to work but did not declare the strike demands were illegal, therefore the industrial actions will continue.

Contact: Dori Ralli, JUADN