EFJ Concerned by Attacks on Trade Union Rights in Slovenian Media

The European

Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the biggest group of journalists in Europe, today

raised its concerns over recent developments taking place in Slovenian media

with the abusive sacking of a trade union leader.

"We consider

that this measure will create a precedent which represents  a serious threat to legal certainty and that

it will  endanger the constitutional

right to trade union activities and journalists' duties arising from the

professional autonomy," said EFJ President Arne König.

A union official

for the Union of Slovenian Journalists and Editor-in-Chief of Obrazi magazine, Alma Maruška Sedlar,

was dismissed on April 2012 by her employer, the  group Salomon Ltd, a part of the Krater Media

Group. However, in Slovenia like in other European countries, work and

statutory immunity for a union official is guaranteed by law. The employer

found a way around it and dismissed her on the grounds of bullying and harassment

(mobbing) of the superiors from the Salomon Ltd media group.

By dismissing

Alma Sedlar, the employer has violated the law setting out that the union

official cannot be dismissed without the prior consent of the union committees

and criminal harassment being proved. However, yesterday a Court denied that

the principle of immunity can be applied in Ms Sedlar's case due to rules of

procedure. This means that from now on every union official in Slovenia will be

exposed to threat of employment contract termination if an employer invents a

story about the criminal offence, or merely plants false evidence hinting at

criminal offence, which is undoubtedly a threat to the due process to which  to which  trade union officials are entitled. 


groups and media organisations have denounced the measure  as an attempt to prevent a trade union leader

from encouraging  other staff to raise

their voice against the employers and display their discontent with the

situation in the company.

"We think that the

situation in Slovenia has became extremely worrying for these rights: not only

is a journalist and union official now facing the survival crisis, but an

employer is trying to discredit her by all means and a Court put a general

principle on hold for reasons of procedures," said Mr König. "This clearly is a

breach of trade union principles and the beginning of a campaign of

intimidation against all trade union representatives, in the media sector or elsewhere."

The EFJ defends strong and

independent journalism, as well as trade union rights and decent working

conditions. It supports its affiliates, the Union of

Slovenian Journalists and the Slovenian Association of Journalists, who actively work for

the respect of professional rights. Therefore the EFJ calls for the respect of

trade union rights and for an immediate stop of the harassment against

journalists' trade union leaders who did nothing else than their job.

The EFJ is the European group of the

International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists

in 30 countries
 For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200